November 1, 2009
Authored by: Jerry Blanchard
Regulators and financial institutions have been trying for some time now to come to an understanding of what type of how workout strategies affect the classification of loans and the corresponding impact on estimates of loan losses. On October 30 the federal banking regulators published guidance on prudent commercial real estate loan workouts that addresses these issues. The guidance addresses some of the most contentious areas of disagreement between banks and examiners. One of those areas is the impact of a decline in value of collateral in situations where the borrower or guarantors have the ability to service the loan. The new guidance tells examiners that renewed or restructured loans to borrowers who have the ability to repay their debts according to reasonable modified terms will not be subject to adverse classification solely because the value of the underlying collateral has declined to an amount that is less than the loan balance. This is a significant change from the manner in which examiners have been classifying acquisition and development loans in the past and time will tell exactly how the examiners will in fact deal with such loans in the future.
A problem loan workout can take many forms, including a renewal or extension of loan terms, extension of additional credit, or a restructuring with or without concessions. The key to any loan workout is that the renewal or restructuring should improve the lender’s prospects for repayment of principal and interest and be consistent with sound banking, supervisory, and accounting practices.