One battle currently waged in the banking industry is amortization terms and interest-only (IO) periods. Borrowers often have legitimate needs to extend the principal repayment on term loans to 30 years. Banks prefer 20-year amortization terms on real estate-secured loans, but most banks are willing to extend to 25-year amortization terms.
Sometimes how we choose to measure something can lead to incorrect conclusions. While mathematically 30 is 50% more than 20, a 30-year amortizing loan is not 50% riskier, or 50% longer than a 20-year amortizing loan. The amortization term is often a poor measure for bankers to use to make credit decisions. In this blog, we will explain why the amortization term can be a misleading measure, why bankers should be using average life, and we will provide readers with a downloadable average life excel calculator for bankers to use for their own analysis.
Competition for quality (and sometimes not so quality) loans is intense and banks are looking for every possible advantage. One area where community banks can gain a competitive advantage is strategically setting amortization and call terms on loans. Specifically, there is much-heated discussion at loan committees on setting amortization periods and commitment terms on secured real estate loans. Increase amortization and you increase the principal at risk.