Originally posted by Karin DiMauro:
Thanks again, Kevin Yeats. A LOC is a bit different from a loan, though, right? Ultimately we'd be doing the same thing, paying money back, but I thought the initial approach and application was different, no?
Yes, there are differences. First I want to back up a couple steps. There are a couple ways to find out what your bank wants. The first one is obvious - just ask. The second method is to find the bank's historical lending via reports from the FDIC. The third method, which is sometimes the best/most revealing, is to read their SEC statements.
In SEC filings, you want to find their underwriting criteria. Here is an example of what a bank in my area wrote in their last annual report (10-K): "Residential mortgage loans represent one-to-four family loans originated through NSB Mortgage and selected by the Company to be retained in its portfolio. These loans are subject to strict underwriting standards which are at a minimum per the FREDDIE MAC guidelines and typically have terms within 10 to 15 years with moderate loan-to-value ratios, typically less than 70% and with credit scores typically exceeding 740." From county recorder's records, this bank lends to LLCs and on property that is price and loan dollar-wise similar to what I invest in.
Back to their SEC filing, now that I know that what they call a "Residential mortgage loan" is what I need information about, I can see that in Table E they are making loans. Why? The summary of loans segregated by loan category chart for "Residential mortgage" for December 31, 2011 shows $40.4M in loans, or 8.3% of their total loans. June 30, 2012 for the same loan category shows $63.8M in loans, or 13.2% of their total loans. This is a bank worth talking to.
Use this same process for every bank in your area. Some banks don't give out great details on their underwriting. Here's another bank in my area that spells out details very clearly at the top of page 33.
There are good hints in many of the documents. "The limited lending opportunities and the aggressive problem loan resolution program has reduced the loan portfolio by $212.9 million..." This means your chances of getting a loan are probably not as good. Maybe you put this bank at the bottom of your list. Other bad phrases: "Losses ... have further eroded the Bank’s capital levels, and the Bank is now significantly undercapitalized.... Reduce the real estate credit concentrations in the Bank’s loan portfolio..." Hopefully you get the picture.