Commercial Loan Review

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The commercial loan review involves obtaining and analyzing financial information, including other factors considered for the comprehensive review process.

A commercial loan is a short-term loan given to business organizations by a financial institution to fulfil monetary requirements. Most organizations use the loan to fund capital expenditures and cover operational costs.

They can use the sanctioned amount for various purposes, such as acquiring new machinery, building new infrastructure, and other short-term requirements. Commercial loans can be secured or unsecured and are considered conditional funding for business organizations.

What Is a Commercial Loan Review?

A commercial loan review is conducted on various business loan files, either by hired third-party auditors or internal bank staff. The investigators who review the loans analyze the completeness of the documentation process and evaluate financial performance.

Most financial institutions conduct commercial loan reviews to uncover vulnerabilities, discrepancies, or errors in loan portfolios. Such identifications and corrections help the institutions adhere to all applicable regulations and mitigate financial risks.

What Are the Different Types of Commercial Loans Reviews?

  • Compliance Review

    In this review, the institution's goal is to ensure that all regulatory requirements are met, and the associated documentation is complete.

  • Safety and Soundness Review

    The review involves inspecting a segment of the particular financial institution to discover credit weaknesses.

What Are the Features of a Commercial Loan Review?

Effective commercial loan portfolio management is crucial to control credit risk. A commercial loan review is an important process to help identify risks related to lending and borrowing credit. It further assesses the overall quality of a particular loan portfolio.

Here is a list of features of the commercial loan review.

  • Assess individual and commercial loans, including repayment risks.
  • Determine compliance with lending policies, processes, and procedures.
  • Identify loan documentation lapses.
  • Provide credit risk management priority investigation and findings.
  • Recommend procedures and practices to address different findings.
  • Evaluate risk grades related to loans and their accuracy.

How Do CDFIs Use Commercial Loan Reviews?

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) help promote access to local economic growth and capital in rural and urban low-income communities through monetary awards and allocation of tax credits. Here is how CDFIs use commercial loan reviews to reduce risks and promote economic growth:

  • Identify issues related to loan and credit processes.
  • Learn about modifications to be made during lending policies, procedures, and practices to address certain issues.
  • Evaluate risk grades related to individual and commercial loans.
  • Assess fraud and theft incidents that affect a financial institution and its activities.
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What Are the Steps Involved in a Commercial Loan Review?

A commercial loan review process takes place in three different steps – pre-file review, file review, and post-file review.

  • Pre-File Review

    Review documents, such as delinquent loan reports, problem loan reports, loan policies, and underwriting guidelines that include the loan loss reserve policy and risk grade system. Select loan samples by reviewing a subset of files to assess the portfolio quality.

  • File Review

    Develop a schedule for the particular file review depending on the size and quality of the specific portfolio. Send the list of loan samples to the management team to begin working on them.

    Conduct meetings with the management team to review the scope of work and the list of loans included in the sample and understand the purpose of the analysis.

  • Post File Review

    Issue a formal report summarizing all conclusions, findings, and recommendations. Send an initial draft report to the management team to get a prompt response on all findings. Issue a final report with the management's responsibility for further financial recommendations.

What Are the Sections Involved in a Commercial Loan Review Checklist?

  • Credit Initiation: A review of the initial underwriting that involves analyzing financial statements, repayment sources, appraisal, and management.
  • Loan Structure: Evaluation of all repayment terms against a particular borrower's ability to repay a loan, environmental indemnification, guarantees, and other loan terms.
  • Loan Approval: A review of all written approval procedures, processes, and policies within a financial institution.
  • Credit File Documentation: Verifying and reviewing all relevant ongoing and initial documentation.
  • Normal Loan Monitoring: Verification of the ongoing monitoring process.
  • Problem Loan Management: An evaluation of reports sent to the senior management and downgrading delinquent loans.
  • Loan Workout Management: A review of all action plans and workout agreements for delinquent loans.

What is Included in a Commercial Loan Review?

  • Summary Results

    It presents the findings derived from priority-level sources. High-priority findings are violations of specific policies that may result in civil penalties or loss of money. Low-priority findings provide suggestions related to adherence to industry-wide best practices.

  • Summary of Risk Rating Recommendations

    It provides specific information for loans that a commercial loan review team may recommend being upgraded or downgraded.

  • Credit Risk Management

    It presents all findings and recommendations according to the commercial loan review checklist category.

  • Financial or Documentation Exceptions

    It is a list that outlines all specific financial documents that may be missing from files.

Key Terms Related to Commercial Loan Review

  • Amortization: a schedule under which a specific loan principal is repaid.
  • Annual Debt Service: The total amount paid annually on a commercial real estate loan.
  • Balloon Payment: It is the principal amount due to a specific lender upon loan maturity if it is not completely amortized.
  • Basis Point: It is equivalent to 1/100 of a particular loan's 1% interest rate.
  • Bridge Loan: A short-term loan enables the borrower to get some time before getting permanent financing.
  • Capitalization Rate: It is also called the cap rate expressed in percentage that values a property's income-generating potential.
  • Capital Gain: the taxable income amount derived from selling an investment property.
  • A Contingency Reserve: an additional set of funds kept aside during renovation projects or construction activities.
  • Collar: It is a phrase that defines the lower and upper limits established on adjustable rates.
  • Cost Basis: It is the total cost of a particular property.
  • Defeasance: a method used to reduce the fees required when a borrower decides to prepay a fixed commercial loan.
  • DSCR: Debt Service Coverage Ratio refers to the relationship between a property's annual NOI and the yearly mortgage debt service.


A commercial loan review is significant because it helps understand the current status of a financial institution by analyzing documentation processes and evaluating financial performances. But the review process is tedious and complex for organizations. That is why it is advisable to seek legal help for such reviews. You can approach a professional lawyer from Contracts Counsel to seek help in drafting an efficient commercial loan review.

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