Exposure at default (EAD) is a parameter used in the calculation of economic capital or regulatory capital under Basel II for a banking institution. This is an attribute of any exposure on bank's client.
In general EAD can be seen as an estimation of the extent to which a bank may be exposed to a counterparty in the event of, and at the time of, that counterparty’s default. It is a measure of potential exposure (in currency) as calculated by a Basel Credit Risk Model for the period of 1 year or until maturity whichever is sooner. Based on Basel Guidelines Exposure at Default (EAD) for loan commitments measures the amount of the facility that is likely to be drawn if a default occurs.
Under Basel II a bank needs to provide an estimate of the exposure amount for each transaction, commonly referred to as Exposure at Default (EAD), in banks’ internal systems. All these loss estimates should seek to fully capture the risks of an underlying exposure.
EAD is mainly used in banking businesses.
Calculation of EAD is different under foundation and advanced approach. While under foundation approach (F-IRB) calculation of EAD is guided by the regulators, under the advanced approach (A-IRB) banks enjoy greater flexibility on how they would like to calculate EAD.
Under F-IRB EAD is calculated taking account of the underlying asset, forward valuation, facility type and commitment details. This value does not take account of guarantees, collateral or security (i.e. ignores Credit Risk Mitigation Techniques with the exception of on-balance sheet netting where the effect of netting is included in Exposure At Default). For on-balance sheet transactions, EAD is identical to the nominal amount of exposure. On-balance sheet netting of loans and deposits of a bank to a corporate counterparty is permitted to reduce the estimate of EAD under certain conditions. For off-balance sheet items, there are two broad types which the IRB approach needs to address: transactions with uncertain future drawdown, such as commitments and revolving credits, and OTC foreign exchange, interest rate and equity derivative contracts.
Under A-IRB, the bank itself determines the appropriate EAD to be applied to each exposure. A bank using internal EAD estimates for capital purposes might be able to differentiate EAD values on the basis of a wider set of transaction characteristics (e.g. product type) as well as borrower characteristics. These values would be expected to represent a conservative view of long-run averages, although banks would be free to use more conservative estimates. A bank wishing to use its own estimates of EAD will need to demonstrate to its supervisor that it can meet additional minimum requirements pertinent to the integrity and reliability of these estimates. All estimates of EAD should be calculated net of any specific provisions a bank may have raised against an exposure.
In terms of assigning estimates of EAD to broad EAD classifications, banks may use either internal or external data sources. Given the perceived current data limitations in respect of EAD (in particular external sources) a minimum data requirement of 7 years has been set.
For a risk weight derived from the IRB framework to be transformed into a risk weighted asset, it needs to be attached to an exposure amount. Any error in EAD calculation will directly effect the risk weighted asset and thereby affect the capital requirement.