Always obtain loan agreements in writing and read the fine print. One of the biggest mistakes borrowers make is entering into verbal agreements. If things go wrong there is no evidence to prove the case. Debtors should know the number of deferred payments, payment schedule, fees or penalties, and how the lender reports suspended payments to credit bureaus.
The loan agreements originated by commercial banks, savings banks, finance companies, insurance organizations, and investment banks are very different from each other and all feed a different purpose. "Commercial banks" and "Savings banks," because they accept deposits and benefit from FDIC insurance, generate loans that incorporate the concepts of the "public trust." Prior to interstate banking, that "public trust" was easily measured by State bank regulators who could see how local deposits were used to fund the working capital needs of local industry and businesses, and the benefits associated with those organization's employment.
"Investment banks" create loan agreements that cater to the needs of the investors whose funds they attempt to attract; "investors" are always sophisticated and accredited organizations not subject to bank regulatory supervision and the need to cater to the public trust. Investment banking activities are supervised by the SEC and their main focus is on whether the correct or proper disclosures are made to the parties who provide the funds.
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.