Using maturation curves in early lifecyle treatment strategy, Part 1

Published: November 23, 2009 by Jeff Bernstein

–by Jeff Bernstein

In the current economic environment, many lenders and issuers across the globe are struggling to manage the volume of caseloads coming into collections. The challenge is that as these new collection cases come into collections in early phases of delinquency, the borrower is already in distress, and the opportunity to have a good outcome is diminished.

One of the real “hot” items on the list of emerging best practices and innovating changes in collections is the concept of early lifecycle treatment strategy. Essentially, what we are referring to is the treatment of current and non-delinquent borrowers who are exhibiting higher risk characteristics. There are also those who are at-risk of future default at higher levels than average. The challenge is how to identify these customers for early intervention and triage in the collections strategy process.

One often-overlooked tool is the use of maturation curves to identify vintages within a portfolio that is performing worse than average. A maturation curve identifies how long from origination until a vintage or segment of the portfolio reaches a normalized rate of delinquency.

Let’s assume that you are launching a new credit product into the marketplace. You begin to book new loans under the program in the current month. Beyond that month, you monitor all new loans that were originated/booked during that initial time frame which we can identify as a “vintage” of the portfolio. Each month’s originations are a separate vintage or vintage analysis, and we can track the performance of each vintage over time.

How many months will it take before the “portfolio” of loans booked in that initial month reach a normal level of delinquency based on these criteria: the credit quality of the portfolio and its borrowers, typical collections servicing, delinquency reporting standards, and factor of time? The answer would certainly depend upon the aforementioned factors, and could be graphed as follows:

Exhibit 1

In Exhibit 1, we examine different vintages beginning with those loans originated during Q2 2002, and by year Q2 2008. The purpose of the analysis is to identify those vintages that have a steeper slope towards delinquency, which is also known as a delinquency maturation curve. The X-axis represents a timeline in months, from month of origination. Furthermore,, the Y-axis represents the 90+ delinquency rate expressed as a percentage of balances in the portfolio.

Those vintages that have a steeper slope have reached a normalized level of delinquency sooner, and could in fact, have a trend line suggesting that they overshoot the expected delinquency rate for the portfolio based upon credit quality standards.

So how do we use the maturation curve as a tool?

In my next blog, I will discuss how to use maturation curves to identify trends across various portfolios. I will also examine differentiate collections issues from originations or lifecycle risk management opportunities.