Encouraging commercial banks to participate in debt and debt-service reductions
Following the debt crisis period of the early 1980s, many commercial banks engaged in concerted lending to protect the financial system and gain time to reduce their individual exposure to developing countries. Now that both objectives have largely been accomplished, many smaller banks are trying to leave the debt-restructuring process - even at the cost of substantial write-offs - to redirect their lending to more traditional activities. The core of concerted lending now comprises the major international banks, with the commercial banks demonstrating divergent long-term interests in their dealings with the developing countries because of the varied size and composition of their loan exposure. Thus, depending on their business strategies, banks are exploring options to reduce the risk of participating in "new money" packages, to improve the quality of existing exposures, or to seek "exits" to eliminate or reduce such exposures. As a generalization, however, current commercial lending has failed to reach higher levels because of the banks' perception that "defensive" lending may not improve the value of loans already in their portfolio, although many support developing economies in which their corporate clients are also active.
This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities.
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