Workout management of non‐performing loans

Nico B. Rottke (Real Estate Management Institute, European Business School, Wiesbaden, Germany)
Julia Gentgen (Real Estate Management Institute, European Business School, Wiesbaden, Germany)

Journal of Property Investment & Finance

ISSN: 1463-578X

Publication date: 8 February 2008



The German banking sector has recently been facing high real estate loan default rates resulting in the accumulation of a high volume of distressed real estate debt in the banks' balance sheets. As a consequence, German banks are confronted with the workout of their non‐ and sub‐performing real estate loans to proactively solve the problem. When doing so, banks have to decide whether they want to conduct the loan workout in their own workout departments (integrative approach) or whether they prefer to outsource the workout to a third party servicer or even sell their bad loan exposure to an external investor (disintegrative approach). This paper aims to investigate this issue.


A bank's decision to employ an integrative or a disintegrative approach can be transferred into a make‐or buy‐decision as described by the transaction cost economics. The transaction between the bank and the workout manager is analysed by the transaction characteristics of the transaction cost economics. The specificity of the human capital required for the loan workout of real estate loans is a key consideration for answering the question of integration or disintegration. Assuming highly specific investments for both, the workout manager and the bank, a formal model compares the aggregated pay offs for the bank and the workout manager to determine the optimal control structure for the specific assets.


Following the assumptions of the transaction cost economics, the specificity of the investment of the workout manager (and also the bank) is crucial for the decision of integrating or disintegrating the workout of real estate loans. The degree of specificity required to perform the workout tasks depends on the status of underlying credit engagement and the characteristics of the collateral (the real estate). The formal analysis shows that the bank and the workout manager both under‐invest in integration and disintegration scenarios. However, if the degree of specificity of the investments is equal, nonintegration is superior to integration. Forward integration is superior to nonintegration, if the bank's investment is more specific than the workout manager's investment.


This research paper approaches the problematic from an academic stand point, integrating both the banking and the real estate perspective and aims to provide a recommendation for banks on the integration or disintegration of the workout unit for a certain real estate secured loan portfolio.



Rottke, N. and Gentgen, J. (2008), "Workout management of non‐performing loans", Journal of Property Investment & Finance, Vol. 26 No. 1, pp. 59-79.

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