What Is CAR (Capital Adequacy Ratio)?

Triston Martin

Jun 13, 2022

Using risk-weighted credit exposures as a basis, the capital adequacy ratio (CAR) assesses a bank's level of available capital. One of the essential tools for protecting depositors and promoting financial stability and efficiency is the capital adequacy (CRAR) ratio, also known as the capital-to-risk weighted assets ratio (CRAR). Which can absorb losses in the case of a winding-up and offers a lower level of protection to depositors, are both measured.

Calculating a CAR's worth

Calculating the bank's capital adequacy ratio is done by dividing its total assets by its total capital. The capital adequacy ratio is based on a two-tiered capital structure.

Capital Tier-1

When a bank uses Tier-1 capital to absorb losses, it does not have to stop operating. Tier-1 capital is the capital that a bank may use to absorb losses without closing its doors for good. The bank's ordinary share capital is an excellent illustration of tier one capital.

Capital Tier-2

General loss reserves are included in Tier-2 capital, including unaudited retained earnings. In the case of a company's liquidation or winding up, this capital absorbs the losses. Tier-2 capital is designed to safeguard depositors and creditors in the event of a bank failure, although it does so at a lower level than Tier-1 capital.

If a bank loses all of its Tier-1 capital, it is utilized to absorb losses. Risk-weighted assets are determined by analyzing a bank's loans and giving a weight to each one. When calculating credit risks, adjustments are made to the value of assets shown on a lender's balance sheet.

Acquired Risk-Weighted Assets

The minimum amount of capital banks and other institutions must hold to mitigate the risk of insolvency is determined using risk-weighted assets. Each type of bank asset is assigned a specific capital need depending on its risk profile. It is riskier and needs more cash to get a letter of credit than a mortgage loan backed by collateral.

Capital Adequacy Ratio

As a result of the importance of CARs, banks must ensure that they have adequate capital to withstand losses before going bankrupt and forfeiting depositors' money. It is by reducing the likelihood of bank failure that the efficiency and stability of a country's financial system are ensured. A bank with a high capital adequacy ratio is often seen as secure and likely to fulfill its financial obligations.

A bank's depositors' funds take precedence over its capital throughout its winding-up procedure. Therefore depositors are only at risk of losing their savings if a bank loses more money than it has. Depositors' assets are better protected if the bank's capital adequacy ratio is more significant.

CAR in Action: An Example

Basel II's capital-to-risk-weighted-assets ratio is now 8 percent, whereas Basel III's is 10.5 percent. Basel II and III's minimum capital adequacy ratio is far exceeded by 12 of the largest financial institutions. There must be a minimum capital adequacy level to prevent banks from becoming bankrupt and losing their depositors' money.

Think of bank ABC with $10 million in tier-1 capital and $5 million in tier-two capital, for instance. It contains $50 million worth of loans that have been weighed and evaluated. Bank ABC has a 30 percent capital adequacy ratio ($10 million + $5 million) / $50 million. The capital adequacy of this bank is therefore deemed strong, and as a result, it is regarded as more secure. Therefore, Bank ABC is less likely to go bankrupt if it suffers sudden setbacks.

CAR vs. SR

Debt to revenue is measured using the capital adequacy ratio and the solvency ratio, respectively. Capital adequacy ratios are often used to evaluate banks, although the solvency ratio applies to any form of business. Using the solvency ratio to gauge a company's ability to meet its short-term and long-term financial obligations is possible.

The chance of default increases if a company's solvency ratio falls below 20%. Which may not be easily accessible for a company to satisfy commitments, analysts generally prefer the solvency ratio for providing a full appraisal of a business’s financial status?

CAR to Tier-1 Leverage Ratio

The tier-1 leverage ratio is a related capital adequacy ratio. The leverage of a bank's core capital to its total assets is known as the tier-1 leverage ratio. Banks divide their Tier-1 capital by their average total consolidated assets and specific off-balance sheet exposures and then divide that number by the bank's Tier-1 capital. It is more likely that a bank will be able to sustain adverse shocks to its balance sheet if its tier-1 leverage ratio is more significant.

Constraints of Using CAR

For example, it does not consider the potential capital and cost of capital distortions caused by a bank run or other financial crises. This metric, which assesses a financial institution's risk exposure and financial soundness, is considered more accurate and dependable than the capital ratio by many analysts and bank executives.

A bank's financial health, credit rating, predicted losses, and confidence level of solvency are used to calculate economic capital, which determines the amount of capital a bank needs to keep on hand to address its current outstanding risk. By taking into account the bank's actual financial health and risk level, this score is considered to be more accurate.

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