From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Nonrecourse debt or a nonrecourse loan is a secured loan (debt) that is secured by a pledge of collateral, typically real property, but for which the borrower is not personally liable. If the borrower defaults, the lender/issuer can seize the collateral, but the lender’s recovery is limited to the collateral. If the property is insufficient to cover the outstanding loan balance (for example, if real estate prices have dropped), the difference between the value of the collateral and the loan value becomes a loss for the lender. Thus, non-recourse debt is typically limited to 50% or 60% loan-to-value ratios, so that the property itself provides “overcollateralization” of the loan.
The incentives and motivations for the parties is intermediate between those of a full recourse secured loan and a totally unsecured loan. While the borrower is in first loss position, the lender also assumes significant risk, so the lender must underwrite the loan with much more care than in a full recourse loan. This typically requires that the lender have significant domain expertise and financial modeling expertise.
Non-recourse debt is typically used to finance commercial real estate and similar projects with high capital expenditures, long loan periods, and uncertain revenue streams. It is also commonly used for stock loans and other securities-collateralized lending structures. Because most commercial real estate is owned in a partnership structure (or similar tax pass-through), non-recourse borrowing gives the real estate owner the tax benefits of a tax-pass-through partnership structure (that is, loss pass-through and no double taxation), and simultaneously limits personal liability to the value of the investment.
In some states, “antideficiency statutes” provide that mortgages secured by personal residences are non-recourse against the borrower.
A non-recourse debt of $30 billion was issued to JPMorgan Chase by the Federal Reserve in order to purchase Bear Stearns on March 16, 2008. The non-recourse loan was issued with Bear Stearns’s less liquid assets as collateral, meaning that the Federal Reserve will absorb the loss should the value of those assets be below their collateralized value.
Self-Directed IRA investors who choose to purchase investment real estate are able to leverage their purchase with a non-recourse loan. Because of the IRS regulations, it would be deemed a violation of the qualified retirement account status to personally guarantee any loan on real estate owned by a self-directed IRA.