Recovery is a topic that tends to divide investors into two camps. One half argues that no recovery is happening and that defaults are climbing at an incredible rate, while the others dig around the data and come to the conclusion that recovery happens, but it’s just overall brutally slow.
A lot of people also seem to be very optimistic about the impact that recovery will have on their portfolio. The best way of thinking about recovery (in my opinion) is hoping for an overall break-even. This means that overall, while with a time delay, you do not lose money on defaults. The actual returns come from the loans that are paying on time – and they are the majority.
This month though, my portfolio hit 1000€+ in defaults, which of course is not pleasant to look at. I have however been keeping track of recovery, and I’m not particularly worried here, it’s a matter of time. I threw together some quick Excel graphs to visualize my portfolio happenings.
How much do people really owe me?
This graph is a simple money recovered – exposure at default (recovery-EAD2). As you can see, in raw numbers the debts are big, and you can easily see them piling up to 1000 euros. Now, where things get interesting, is where you normalize the recovery to a 1 to -1 scale, to take into account the actual loan size as well. In this graph -1 means that absolutely no recovery has happened, 0 means break-even point and anything above that is bonus.
The timeline of course runs from left to right, so the oldest defaults (I have 149 defaults in total) are on the far left. You can clearly see that the older loans are much closer to being recovered, but there is significant time delay. (Take into account that the loans are lined up by the day I invested into them, not by the date of when they defaulted.) Overall to visualize this – the part between 0 and -1, the white area is what has been recovered and the blue is what should still be recovered. For me, the total recovery is currently close to 180€, but it’s clearly speeding up.
Sadly monthly recovery is a disaster to actually keep track of, but I’ve been religiously taking screenshots of the recovery table on your statistics page ever since it got launched to track the recovery information there. For the past 4 months recovery has been more than 10€ every month, which might not seem like much, but if we look at the time delay then it’s reasonable to expect that it will keep accelerating. (I mean, for a long time recovery was less than 1€ per month.)