By Brigitte Eichel at September 28 2018 20:41:52
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."
Loan agreements fall into two main types, according to the type of lender, and according to the type of facility. With respect to the type of lender, there are bilateral loans and syndicated loans. Syndicated loans are provided by groups of lenders, and their structuring and arrangement, as well as their administration, are carried out by more than one bank, commercial or investment ones, and the lending banks are also referred to as arrangers.
"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.
For commercial banks and large finance companies, "loan agreements" are usually not categorized although "loan portfolios" are often broadly characterized into "personal" and "commercial" loans while the "commercial" category is then subdivided into "industrial" and "commercial real estate" loans. "Industrial" loans are those that depend on the cashflow and creditworthiness of the company and the widgets or service that it sells. "Commercial real estate" loans are those that repay loans but that depend on the rental revenues paid by tenants who lease space, usually for extended times. More granular categorizations of loan portfolios exist but these are always variations around the larger themes.