Impact of Bad Credit on Commercial Loans

The impact of bad credit scores on commercial loans has never been so severe. And we’re not just saying that so you read this article. As the commercial secondary market continues to take a beating and local banks that still lend off of their balance sheet cherry pick deals, borrowers credit score are an all too easy lending criteria to “pick on”.

Unlike a lot of the components in commercial underwriting, the borrower’s credit score is simple to calculate and very easy to categories. Compared to predicting future business trend, or calculating property valuing in a declining market for example, figuring out the borrower’s credit score only take a few minutes. If the score is outside guidelines, it’s a dead file. For example the vast majority of banks simply will not look at deals where the borrowers score is below a 680 now. A year ago 620 was questionable, maybe even “looked down” on, but still doable.

Improving ones score should be a huge priority for all borrowers. Much has been written on the topic (which we discuss on our website) but whatever strategy the borrower uses, if they decide to do it on their own or hire a firm to handle it for them, it should be taken very seriously.

For commercial loans with bad credit that do close, the borrower is now paying a huge price for the lenders leniency. Rates are often 2% – 8% higher than on typical bank loans. Prepayment penalties are often very high and restrictive as some lenders within this arena charge interest lock outs and the like. Loan programs are often shorter as well and many lender including the government’s Small Business Administration charge high fees. For example the SBA 7a program, which is their most popular commercial mortgage, charges 2.75% on the front of the loan… And that’s the governments program!

Bottom line – borrowers will save 10′s of thousands of dollars by rising that score and 10′s of thousands on transaction costs by not having to refinance out of short term loans that they where forced into due to personal credit scores. If you are in a position where you know you have to refinance your existing loan, perhaps it is ballooning or your existing bank is pressuring you to leave, get started on improving your score immediately as the impact of bad credit on your commercial loans is just too serious in this market.

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