A loan agreement is the document which represents the formal evidence of a loan. The document also includes important details such as covenants, positive or negative ones, the information on the collateral such as loan type and its value, as well as guarantees, the applicable interest rates, fees, the conditions according to which the loan is to be repaid, and the period of repayment envisaged.
Loan agreements, like any contract, reflect an "offer," the "acceptance of the offer," "consideration," and can only involve situations that are "legal" (a term loan agreement involving heroin drug sales is not "legal"). Loan agreements are documented via their commitment letters, agreements that reflect the understandings reached between the involved parties, a promissory note, and a collateral agreement (such as a mortgage or a personal guarantee). Loan agreements offered by regulated banks are different from those that are offered by finance companies in that banks receive a "banking charter" granted as a privilege and involving the "public trust."
It is important to note that some banks do report deferred payments as delinquent. Therefore, it is crucial to ask lenders how they report to credit bureaus before entering into a contract. Payments reported as past due can reduce FICO scores. Depending on credit scores, a reduction of ten points can place debtors in a lower credit category; making it difficult to obtain credit in the future.
Borrowers should create a folder to store loan document records, along with a record of phone and email correspondence. Always keep track of phone conversations by writing down a summary of the call, date, time, and name of the bank representative spoken with. When important documents are mailed, invest in the extra protection of tracking receipts. Certified letters should be sent with a return receipt request in case it is necessary to provide evidence the documents were received.
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