Loan covenants are the agreements or promises a borrowing party enters into while taking a loan. They define how the parties will operate depending on the rules established in the contract. The purpose of loan covenant compliance is to align both parties’ interests and resolve issues between them. Covenants restrict the borrowers from taking specific actions that may increase the risk of default for the lender. Besides that, covenants also benefit the borrower by reducing their borrowing cost, as lenders are willing to offer lower interest rates to those who agree with their covenants.
Lenders often put covenants in place to reduce the risk of default. Today, we will explore how these covenants work and how they protect the lender.
Importance of Loan Covenants
Loan covenants serve as a safety net for lenders. They usually undertake these covenants to reduce the risk of default by identifying any red flags in time. Since they legally bind the borrowers to maintain a certain ratio and cash flow, the lenders ensure security while lending out money. By doing so, they protect themselves from the risks associated with the loan agreement.
Usually, the breach of covenant compliance gives the lender a right to collect collateral, call the loan amount, or increase the loan interest rate, as previously agreed upon. Sometimes, lenders may also waive the covenants temporarily or permanently at their discretion.
How Loan Covenants Protect the Lender?
While loan covenants help the borrowers gain the lender’s trust, reduce their interest rate, and stabilize their financial performance, they protect the lenders in multiple ways. These include:
- Security: One significant benefit of loan covenants is protecting lenders from losing the money they lent out to the borrower. They work as security measures and ensure the borrowing party has enough stability and cash flow to repay the loan.
- Control: Covenants are undertakings that the borrower agrees to in return for the loan amount. They usually give the lender an upper hand, giving them more control over the loan situation.
- Rights: The lender feels protected with loan covenants in place. According to the contract, lenders get the right to take action as agreed upon if borrowers violate a covenant.
What Happens After a Covenant Violation?
Violation of a loan covenant creates a breach of a legal contract between the lender and the borrower. The consequences can be severe. These are a few actions a lender may take in case of a violation:
- Raise the collateral amount
- Increase the interest rate
- Impose penalties
- Terminate and call off the loan agreement
- Demand immediate loan repayment
If the borrower has a genuine reason to violate a covenant, they may meet the lender and ask for a waiver. Usually, lenders are not anxious to call off their loans. They want their borrowers to maintain and repay the loan. So, the best course of action is to work a way out according to the situation. However, assessing a borrower’s risk and ensuring covenant compliance based on data improves the chances of loan repayment and securing the lender’s finances. This is when a professionally designed covenant monitoring solution is required that helps lenders make informed decisions.