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1.0 Background to the Study

The concept of credit can be traced back in history and it was not appreciated until and after the Second World War when it was largely appreciated in Europe and later in Africa (Kiiru, 2004). Credit risk management has been an integral part of the loan process in banking business. Credit risk is the current and prospective risk to earnings or capital arising from an obligor’s failure to meet the terms of any contract with the bank or otherwise to perform as agreed. (Kargi, 2011).

When banks grant loans, they expect the customers to repay the principal and interest on an agreed date.

Banks and their customers have different perceptions of bank credit or lending. To most bankers, credit is not a capital–market activity, yet to many corporate customers’ particularly small and medium-sized companies, bank loans are their most important source of capital. The demand for medium-term or long-term lending comes mainly from commercial and industrial companies and from private individuals. However, amongst all the services provided by banks, credit creation is the main income generating activity for the banks. But this activity involves extremely high risks to both the lender (financial institution) and the borrower (client). The risk of a trading partner not fulfilling his or her obligation as per the contract can greatly hinder the smooth functioning of a bank’s operation. On the other hand, a bank with high credit risk faces potential insolvency and this does not give depositors confidence to place deposits with it.

Some financial institutions have collapsed or experienced financial problems due to inefficient credit risk management systems typified by high levels of insider loans, speculative lending, and high concentration of credit in certain sectors among other issues. Credit risk management practices and poor credit quality continue to be a dominant cause of bank failures and banking crises worldwide. Again, Financial Institutions have faced difficulties over the years for a multitude of reasons, the major cause of serious banking problems continues to be directly related to lax credit standards for borrowers and counterparties, poor portfolio risk management, or lack of attention to changes in economic or other circumstances that can lead to a deterioration in the credit standing of a bank’s counterparties (Gil, 1994).