A bank or any other lender evaluates a potential borrower before granting a loan and handing out the money. This evaluation can be called credit risk assessment as the bank is trying to understand the risk of potential default by the borrower on this line of credit. The Five Cs of credit is a widely popular framework which considers five characteristics of the borrower to helps lenders gauge the creditworthiness of the borrowers.The 5 Cs of credit are Character, Collateral, Conditions Capacity, and Capital in no particular order. Let us understand what these 5 Cs stand for.
Sometimes also referred to as the credit history, a character is the first among the C’s (in our list). If you are one of those who thinks “what has good character got to do with a loan?” then oops! Your character is, in fact, one of the most apparent parameters by which lenders gauge your risk and trustworthiness. In financial terms, the character represents a borrower’s reputation for repaying debts. This information appears on the credit report generated by the credit information companies such as CRIF. Apart from credit score, the credit report also contains information about how much an applicant has borrowed in the past and whether they have repaid loans on time. Information from these reports helps lenders assess the borrower’s credit risk.
Beyond your credit, lenders may also take a literal approach to the word “character” and analyze your personal attributes. They may conduct an interview or require references. Be polite, prompt, and prepared when you approach a lender. That might just make the difference to your loan approval.
Every lender must make sure that it is lending money to someone who has the capacity (or simply income or wealth) to repay. It is a measure of the borrower’s ability to repay a loan by comparing income against recurring debts and assessing the borrower’s debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. The DTI is calculated by adding together a borrower’s total monthly debt payments and dividing that by the borrower’s gross monthly income. The lower an borrowers DTI, the better the chance of qualifying for a new loan. Every lender is different, but many lenders prefer an applicant’s DTI to be around 35% or less before approving an application for new financing.
Lenders consider any capital put by the borrower in their investment, in other words, the own contribution or the down payment. A large contribution by the borrower minimizes the chance of default. Borrowers who can place a down payment on a home, for example, typically find it easier to receive a loan. Down payments indicate the borrower’s level of seriousness and whether the borrower’s goals are realistic and in congruence with the paying potential. Down payment amount can also affect the rates and terms of a borrower’s loan. Larger down payments may result in better interest rates and terms.
Collateral is any personal asset that the borrower pledges in order to support the loan. It acts as a lender’s back up in case you abscond or are genuinely unable to repay your loan. After all, it’s a business and none of the two parties would want to be at a loss. In the case of a loan default, the lender will have to liquidate your assets which have been put as security against the loan. The collateral can be your house property, land, equipment, inventory, real estate, accounts receivable, or any other item holding monetary value in the market. Banks measure collateral quantitatively by its value and qualitatively by its ease of liquidation. The simple formula is; Risky collateral = difficult to liquidate = more expensive loan. Most obvious examples of collateral include houses, cars, stocks, bonds, and cash, basically, all things that are readily convertible into cash to repay the loan.
The conditions of the loan, such as its interest rate and amount of principal, influence the lender’s decision to finance the borrower. Conditions can refer to how a borrower plans to use the money. For instance, if a borrower applies for a car loan or a house loan the lender is more likely to approve the loan because the intent is specific and clear. Additionally, lenders may also consider factors such as the state of the economy, the trends in your business’s industry current environmental conditions, and even geographic or political events. The point is that, for conditions, lenders look for factors beyond your business alone that might affect whether you can make good on your debt.
Understanding what your lenders are looking for will help you prepare a better loan application. And, hopefully, this carefully-crafted application will help secure a better loan for your personal or business use. CRIF is a consumer credit bureau providing free credit report & credit score for both persons and businesses.