Working paper No. 708
By Tobias Neumann
Default correlation is a key driver of credit risk. In the Basel regulatory framework it is measured by the asset value correlation parameter. Though past studies suggest that the parameter is over-calibrated for mortgages — generally the largest asset class on banks’ balance sheets — they do not take into account bias arising from small samples or non-Gaussian risk factors. Adjusting for these biases using a non-Gaussian, non-linear state space model I find that the Basel calibration is appropriate for UK and US mortgages. This model also forecasts mortgage default rates accurately and parsimoniously. The model generates value-at-risk estimates for future mortgage default rates, which can be used to inform stress-testing and macroprudential policy.