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Capital adequacy ratio (CAR), also called Capital to Risk (Weighted) Assets Ratio (CRAR), is a ratio of a bank's capital to its risk. National regulators track a bank's "CAR" to ensure that it can absorb a reasonable amount of loss [Cite web | url=http://www.rbnz.govt.nz/finstab/banking/regulation/0091769.html | title=Capital adequacy ratios for banks - simplified explanation and example of calculation | publisher=Reserve Bank of New Zealand | accessdate=2007-07-10] and are complying with their statutory Capital requirements.

Formula

Capital adequacy ratios ("CAR") are a measure of the amount of a bank's capital expressed as a percentage of its risk weighted credit exposures.

Capital adequacy ratio is defined as

$mbox\left\{CAR\right\} = cfrac\left\{mbox\left\{Capital\left\{mbox\left\{Risk$

where Risk can either be weighted assets ($,a$) or the respective national regulator's minimum total capital requirement. If using risk weighted assets,

$mbox\left\{CAR\right\} = cfrac\left\{T_1 + T_2\right\}\left\{a\right\}$ ≥ 8%.Cite web | url=http://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/capitaladequacyratio.asp | title=Capital Adequacy Ratio - CAR | publisher=Investopedia | accessdate=2007-07-10]

The percent threshold (8% in this case, a common requirement for regulators conforming to the Basel Accords) is set by the national banking regulator.

Two types of capital are measured: tier one capital ($T_1$ above), which can absorb losses without a bank being required to cease trading, and tier two capital ($T_2$ above), which can absorb losses in the event of a winding-up and so provides a lesser degree of protection to depositors.

Use

Capital adequacy ratio is the ratio which determines the capacity of the bank in terms of meeting the time liabilities and other risk such as credit risk, operational risk, etc. In the most simple formulation, a bank's capital is the "cushion" for potential losses, which protect the bank's depositors or other lenders. Banking regulators in most countries define and monitor "CAR" to protect depositors, thereby maintaining confidence in the banking system.

CAR is similar to leverage; in the most basic formulation, it is comparable to the inverse of debt-to-equity leverage formulations (although CAR uses equity over assets instead of debt-to-equity; since assets are by definition equal to debt plus equity, a transformation is required). Unlike traditional leverage, however, CAR recognizes that assets can have different levels of risk.

Risk weighting

Since different types of assets have different risk profiles, CAR primarily adjusts for assets that are less risky by allowing banks to "discount" lower-risk assets. The specifics of CAR calculation vary from country to country, but general approaches tend to be similar for countries that apply the Basel Accords. In the most basic application, government debt is allowed a 0% "risk weighting" - that is, they are subtracted from total assets for purposes of calculating the CAR.

Risk weighting example

Local regulations establish that cash and government bonds have a 0% risk weighting, and residential mortgage loans have a 50% risk weighting. All other types of assets (loans to customers) have a 100% risk weighting.

"Bank "A" has assets totaling 100 units, consisting of:
* Cash: 10 units.
* Government bonds: 15 units.
* Mortgage loans: 20 units.
* Other loans: 50 units.
* Other assets: 5 units.

"Bank "A" has deposits of 95 units, all of which are deposits. By definition, equity is equal to assets minus debt, or 5 units.

Bank A's risk-weighted assets are calculated as follows:Even though "Bank "A" would appear to have a debt-to-equity ratio of 95:5, or equity-to-assets of only 5%, its CAR is substantially higher. It is considered less risky because some of its assets are less risky than others.

Types of capital

The Basel rules recognize that different types of equity are more important than others. To recognize this, different adjustments are made:
# Tier I Capital: Actual contributed equity plus retained earnings.
# Tier II Capital: Preferred shares plus 50% of subordinated debt.

Different minimum CAR ratios are applied: minimum Tier I equity to risk-weighted assets may be 4%, while minimum CAR including Tier II capital may be 8%.

There is usually a maximum of Tier II capital that may be "counted" towards CAR, depending on the jurisdiction.

ee Also

* Capital requirement
* Tier 1 capital
* Tier 2 capital
* Basel accords

References

* [http://www.rbnz.govt.nz/finstab/banking/regulation/0091769.html Capital Adequacy Ratio] at The Reserve Bank of New Zealand's website.
* [http://nuscho.com Texas Ratios and FDIC Scores]

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