The Five “C’s” of Credit

The Five “C’s” of Credit

Lenders are in business to make (not lose) money. Consequently when a bank lends money it wants to ensure that it will get paid back. To maximize the possibility of being paid back, the bank wants to make sure that there is sufficient assurance that a person can and will pay back a loan. The lender must consider the 5 “C’s” of Credit each time it makes a loan.

Character is the general impression you make on the potential lender. The lender will form a subjective opinion as to whether or not you are sufficiently trustworthy to repay the loan. Your educational background and experience in business will be reviewed. The length of time at your current employment and your current residence will be considered. The longer you have been at both, the higher you will score on the character scale.

Collateral is additional security you can provide the lender. In real estate transactions this generally means the property. If for some reason, you cannot repay the mortgage, the bank wants to know that the real estate the mortgage was taken out for, is good and marketable real estate. A real estate appraisal will determine the value for the property in today’s market. The appraisal will also indicate to the lender the type of property being financed and any deficiencies that may affect the ability to re-sell, in case of default. Generally, a property located in a North York sub-division is considered a better risk than a farm in rural Ontario. Simply, there are more buyers for the home in the city than for a rural farm and therefore is easier to re-sell.

Capital is the money you personally have invested in the purchase, otherwise known as your down payment. The more of your own money you invest as a down payment, the more likely that you will do all you can to maintain your payment obligations. This fact was evident during the recession of the 90s where a large number of the power of sale properties, were at one time, purchased with small down payments. Capital is also reflected by your ability and willingness to save money and accumulate assets. The higher your net worth, the more you have as a cushion for repayment in the event you run into a financial set-back.

Credit is the evaluation of your habits in performing credit obligations. The information about your credit history is stored at the “credit bureau” and indicates how well you paid your bills over the last 6 years. All major credit cards, auto loans, leases etc. are reported to the credit bureau. A lender will evaluate your ability to maintain your obligations and try and determine how well you live within your means. Some individuals make the mistake of not paying the minimum monthly obligations on loans and credit cards with the expectation of making a larger payment the following month. These missed payments appear on their credit report branding them as chronic “late-payers” for the next 6 years.

Capacity to repay the loan is probably the most critical of the five factors. The lender will want to know exactly how you intend to repay the loan. The lender will consider your income as it relates to the loan that you are applying for. Does the monthly carrying costs of the loan represent less than or equal to 32% of your total monthly income? If it is, the probability of you successfully repaying the loan is fairly high. Prospective lenders will also want to know about any other sources of income you may have to repay the loan, if your steady income stream is interrupted.

From the desk of Eric Palmer (Mortgage Intelligence) Eric Palmer Photo