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."
Be careful applying for private loans with banks. If your bank requires a co-borrower to sign on the agreement before the loan is sanctioned, make sure that your co-borrower has a good enough credit history. Not having a good credit history could jeopardize your chances of getting the private student loan that you would have otherwise got stand alone.
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.
"Insurance" organizations, who collect premiums for providing either life or property/casualty coverage, created their own types of loan agreements. "Banks" and "Insurance" organizations loan agreements and documentation standards evolved from their individual cultures and were governed by policies that somehow addressed each organizations liabilities (In the case of "banks," the liquidity needs of their depositors; in the case of insurance organizations, the liquidity needs associated with their expected "claims" payments).
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