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.
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."
"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.
Lenders may require borrowers to submit a financial letter of hardship which explains the circumstances causing them to require a loan deferment. Hardship letters are usually required with federal student loans and real estate transactions such as loan modifications.