Impaired Assets • Stage 3: When a financial asset is identified as credit-impaired, it migrates to Stage 3 and an allowance for credit losses equal to full lifetime ECL is recognized. Interest income is recognized on the carrying amount of the asset, net of the allowance for credit losses. ECL represents the discounted probability-weighted estimate of cash shortfalls expected to result from defaults over the relevant time horizon. ECL estimations are a function of the probability of default (PD), loss given default (LGD) and exposure at default (EAD). PD, which represents the estimate of the likelihood of default, considers past events, current market conditions and forward-looking information over the relevant time horizon. LGD represents an estimate of loss arising from default based on the difference between the contractual cash flows due and those that CWB expects to receive, including consideration for the amount and quality of collateral held. EAD represents an estimate of the exposure at a future default date, taking into account estimated future repayments of principal and draws on committed facilities.
For most financial assets, ECL is estimated on an individual basis. Financial assets for which an allowance for credit losses is estimated on a collective basis are grouped based on similar credit risk characteristics.
Forward-looking Information The estimation of ECL and the assessment of SICR consider information about past events and current conditions as well as reasonable and supportable projections of future events and economic conditions. The estimation and application of forward-looking information requires significant judgment. With consideration of several external sources of information, we formulate a base case view of the future direction of relevant macroeconomic variables, which is updated quarterly. A representative range of other possible forecast scenarios is developed to incorporate multiple probability-weighted outcomes. The base case scenario represents the best estimate of forecast macroeconomic variables.
Additional information regarding the incorporation of forward-looking information and the related judgment and estimation involved in the process is described in Note 6.
Assessment of Significant Increases in Credit Risk At each reporting date, we assess whether a financial asset has experienced a SICR since initial recognition by comparing the risk of a default occurring over the asset’s remaining expected life at the reporting date and the date of initial recognition. The assessment of changes in credit risk is performed at least quarterly, generally at the instrument level. Significant judgment is also required in the application of SICR thresholds. The thresholds used to define SICR are not expected to change frequently, and will be reassessed as needed based on significant changes in credit risk management practices.
Refer to Note 6 for additional information regarding the assessment of SICR.
Expected Life When measuring ECL, we consider the maximum contractual period over which an exposure to credit risk exists. For most instruments, the expected life is limited to the remaining contractual life, including prepayment and extension options. For certain revolving credit facilities, the expected life is estimated based on the period over which we are exposed to credit risk and how credit losses are mitigated by management actions. Modified Financial Assets The original terms of a financial asset may be renegotiated or otherwise modified, resulting in an impact to contractual cash flows. In particular, in an effort to minimize our realized losses, modifications may be granted in situations where a borrower experiences financial difficulty. Modifications may include payment deferrals, extension of amortization periods, interest rate reductions, principal forgiveness, debt consolidation or forbearance. If it is determined that the modification results in expiry of cash flows, the original asset is derecognized and a new asset is recognized based on the new contractual terms. Where a modification does not result in derecognition, the gross carrying amount of the financial asset is recalculated as the present value of the renegotiated or modified contractual cash flows, discounted at the original effective interest rate, and a gain or loss is recognized immediately in the consolidated statements of income. The financial asset continues to be subject to the same assessment for SICR relative to initial recognition. Expected cash flows arising from the modified contractual terms are considered when estimating ECL for the modified asset. Financial assets that are modified while having an allowance for credit losses equal to lifetime ECL may revert to having to an allowance for credit losses equal to 12- month ECL after a period of performance and improvement in the borrower’s financial condition. Definition of Default The definition of default used in the estimation of ECL is consistent with the definition of default used for internal credit risk management purposes. Loans are determined to be in default and classified as impaired when payments are contractually past due 90 days or more, when we have commenced realization proceedings, or when we are of the opinion that the loan should be regarded as impaired based on objective evidence. Objective evidence that a loan is impaired may include significant financial difficulty of a borrower, default or delinquency of a borrower, breach of loan covenants or conditions, or indications that a borrower will enter bankruptcy. Financial assets are reviewed on an ongoing basis to assess whether any should be classified as impaired. Loans that have become impaired are monitored closely by a specialized team with regular reviews of each loan and its realization plan. Impaired loans are returned to performing status when the timely collection of both principal and interest is reasonably assured and all delinquent principal and interest payments are brought current. Write-offs Financial assets are written off, either partially or in full, against the related allowance for credit losses when we conclude that there is no realistic prospect of future recovery in respect of those amounts. When financial assets are secured, this is generally after all collateral has been realized or transferred to us, or in certain circumstances, when the net realizable value of any collateral and other available information suggests that there is no reasonable expectation of further recovery. In subsequent periods, any recoveries of amounts previously written off are recorded as a reduction to the provision for credit losses in the consolidated statements of income.
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