CIBC Corporate and Investment Banking (B)–1992-97 (Condensed) Case Study Solution


The CIBC Corporate and Investment Banking (B) case spanning from 1992 to 1997 presents a pivotal period in the history of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC). This condensed analysis delves into the challenges faced by CIBC during this period, the decisions made, and the outcomes. It serves as a valuable study in understanding the complexities of the banking industry and the strategies employed by institutions during times of financial turmoil.

Case Issue

The case of CIBC Corporate and Investment Banking (B) revolves around the bank’s performance and decision-making from 1992 to 1997. The key issues at hand are as follows:

Risk Management: CIBC faced significant challenges related to risk management, particularly in its trading operations. The bank encountered substantial losses due to market volatility and inadequate risk assessment.

Capital Adequacy: Ensuring sufficient capital to cover potential losses is critical for any bank. CIBC needed to address concerns regarding its capital adequacy in light of the losses incurred.

Strategic Decision-Making: CIBC’s leadership had to make strategic decisions to steer the bank through challenging times. This included considering whether to exit or restructure certain business segments.

Case Analysis

Risk Management

CIBC’s risk management during this period was inadequate, as evidenced by significant losses in its trading operations. The bank’s exposure to risky assets, coupled with insufficient risk assessment models, left it vulnerable to market fluctuations. This issue was exacerbated by a lack of effective risk controls and oversight.

Capital Adequacy

The losses incurred by CIBC raised concerns about the bank’s capital adequacy. Capital acts as a buffer against losses, and the bank needed to ensure it had enough to cover potential losses. The case reveals the necessity for rigorous stress testing and capital planning to withstand adverse scenarios.

Strategic Decision-Making

CIBC faced critical decisions regarding its business segments. It needed to determine whether certain segments, such as its leveraged finance unit, were worth retaining or if they should be restructured or divested. These decisions required a deep understanding of the bank’s core competencies and risk appetite.


The CIBC Corporate and Investment Banking (B) case from 1992 to 1997 illustrates the challenges that banks can encounter in a rapidly changing financial landscape. Inadequate risk management, capital concerns, and strategic decision-making were at the heart of CIBC’s issues during this period. However, the bank’s ability to navigate these challenges provides valuable lessons.

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Enhance Risk Management

CIBC should invest in advanced risk assessment models and risk controls. Regular stress testing should be conducted to identify potential vulnerabilities. Risk management should be an integral part of the bank’s culture, with continuous monitoring and adaptation to market conditions.

Capital Adequacy

To ensure capital adequacy, CIBC should maintain a conservative approach to capital planning. This involves setting aside a sufficient buffer to cover unexpected losses. Stress testing should be used to assess the impact of adverse scenarios on the bank’s capital position.

Strategic Focus

The bank should carefully evaluate its business segments to determine alignment with its core competencies and risk appetite. If certain segments are found to be too risky or not in line with the bank’s strategic objectives, they should be restructured or divested.

Corporate Culture

Creating a culture of risk awareness and responsibility throughout the organization is paramount. All employees should understand their role in risk management and adhere to established risk protocols.

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