The Star on 19 August reported Danajamin Nasional Bhd, the national financial guarantee insurer, has received 2 applications for credit enhancements to raise RM8.4bn of bonds.
Danajamin was set up in May 2009, as part of the “RM60bn” stimulus package announced by the government in March, to ensure that businesses continued to have access to bond market financing.
Here’s what an interested reader says:
“This Danajamin is a disaster waiting to happen.
Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti says "it provides credit enhancements for viable corporations to raise financing from the bond market". But in that, there is a contradiction. If it is viable, then why need enhancements?
This sort of credit enhancement features are typically for bad companies, which cannot access the loan or the bond markets by themselves. The REASON they cannot access these 2 markets is because they are NOT credit worthy.
Banks are experts in credit analysis. In fact, that is the bread-and-butter of lending-based banking. If the banks themselves, who are experts, deem the companies not suitable for loans, then what extra expertise or knowledge does Danajamin have to decide to bear that risk?
There are 9 local banks in Malaysia, 3 Arab banks, 2 Spore banks and 4-5 foreign banks (HSBC, ABN, StanChart etc etc). Collectively, 20 banks can’t be wrong, and Danajamin correct. Secondly, since these companies are not credit worthy, they are prone to default if there is any downturn in the economy.
As such, Danajamin will be laden with non-performing loans (NPLs). Banks have the means to monitor and modify NPLs. How will Danajamin do so?
As I said above, unless Danajamin can claim that they have a better form of credit enhancement than all the 20 banks in the system and that their risk management of potential and actual NPLs is also superior, this is a disaster waiting to happen. Assuming a 20% NPL rate of MYR 18.4 billion is a massive number. Let us cross our fingers that there is no double dip recession in the US.”
To which I would add, Dr Zeti herself was quoted as saying, ““The recent narrowing of spreads between benchmark issuances and triple A rated papers indicates that risk aversion has now eased,” and demand for higher-yielding securities was also beginning to rise, ahead of the recovery in the global economy.
Danajamin might have been justified when markets were frozen. But if markets are recovering and functioning again, it has no raison d’etre.
Note that the RM8.4bn was just for two deals – so we’re talking a massive RM4.2bn size per issue. From my experience, any issue of this size would would be inundated with bankers vying for a slice of the action – for the sizeable fees and the bragging rights.