We have been writing on the various strategies available to community banks when structuring commercial loans in this current challenging business and credit environment. With the flat and low yield curve, we have discussed how banks may offer commercial loans through the ARC hedge program using two different strategies: 1) embedded floors, and 2) forward starting floaters.
We work on thousands of lending transactions every year with hundreds of community banks across the country. We participate and help structure financing on commercial real estate, C&I and Ag properties ranging in size from a few hundred thousand to over $100mm, and we collaborate with community bank lenders and underwriters that span the whole gamut of experience. We witness the good, the bad, the ugly, and occasionally the very bizarre in bank marketing, under
With a flat and low yield curve, borrowers’ demand for long-term fixed-rate loans is high. Furthermore, based on the forward market and most analysts’ predictions, the yield curve is expected to stay low and flat in 2020. The difference between five and ten-year loan rates is currently only nine basis points, and the difference between five and 20-year loan rates is 21 basis points.
Community banks face intense competition from different institutions and various industries. There is currently a market phenomenon that is creating an unusually challenging environment for community banks that compete for real estate financing. This phenomenon is creating an advantage for some lenders in the amount of seven to 42bps, and community banks must be aware of this aberration if they want to win more quality borrowers.
In the last few months, more than a dozen bankers have reached out to us about the merits of a fixed-rate loan program. Up until a few months ago, we didn’t know that the industry had started coining the term “fixed-rate loan program.” We always assumed that banks made loans that borrowers needed, whether fixed-rate, adjustable-rate, or some form of hybrid. Now, this seems to be a thing and we, not surprisingly, have an opinion on the matter.
You cannot read a financial paper, business feed, or watch financial television without someone mentioning yield curve flattening and inversion. Google searches for “yield curve inversion” are at their highest level ever. What is all the fuss about, and why should bankers care? We will explain an innovative way that bankers are using the current yield curve to protect existing relationships, increase yield and generate non-interest income, and we will use a recent case study to highlight the specifics loan terms and results.
Many community bankers are experiencing competitive pressures when competing for higher quality credit, relationship-driven accounts.
One thing that is underappreciated in our industry is the difference between loan structure risk versus credit risk. While these are intertwined, the two risks are different as we will explore.
One of the best ways to become a better banker is to pay attention to your competition and analyze their strengths and weaknesses. We pay particular attention to term sheets and commitment letters from other banks to learn what other banks are doing well and where they make mistakes. We intend to capitalize on competitors’ weaknesses and to learn to address and respond to other banks’ strengths. We recently reviewed a term sheet that we thought highlighted some in