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Financial Institution Letters
Estimates of fair value should consider prices for similar assets or similar liabilities and the results of valuation techniques to the extent available in the circumstances. In the absence of (a) quoted market prices in an active market, (b) observable prices of other current market transactions, or (c) other observable data supporting a valuation technique, the transaction price represents the best information available with which to estimate fair value at the inception of an arrangement.
An institution should not recognize an unrealized gain or loss at inception of a derivative instrument unless the fair value of that instrument is obtained from a quoted market price in an active market or is otherwise evidenced by comparison to other observable current market transactions or based on a valuation technique incorporating observable market data.15 Based on this guidance, derivative loan commitments generally would have a zero fair value at inception.16 However, subsequent changes in the fair value of a derivative loan commitment must be recognized in financial statements and regulatory reports (e.g., changes in fair value attributable to changes in market interest rates).
When estimating the fair value of derivative loan commitments and those best efforts contracts that meet the definition of a derivative, institutions should consider predicted pull-through (or, conversely, fallout) rates. A pull-through rate is the probability that a derivative loan commitment will ultimately result in an originated loan. Some factors that may be considered in arriving at appropriate pull-through rates include (but are not limited to) the origination channel [which may be either internal (retail) or external (wholesale or correspondent, to the extent the institution rather than the correspondent closes the loan17)], current mortgage interest rates in the market versus the interest rate incorporated in the derivative loan commitment, the purpose of the mortgage (purchase versus refinancing), the stage of completion of the underlying application and underwriting process, and the time remaining until the expiration of the derivative loan commitment. Estimates of pull-through rates should be based on historical information for each type of loan product adjusted for potential changes in market interest rates that may affect the percentage of loans that will close. Institutions should not consider the pull-through rate when reporting the notional amount of derivative loan commitments in regulatory reports but, rather, must report the entire gross notional amount.
15 See footnote 3 in Emerging Issues Task Force Issue No. 02-3, Issues Involved in Accounting for Derivative Contracts Held for Trading Purposes and Contracts Involved in Energy Trading and Risk Management Activities (EITF 02-3).
16 If a potential borrower pays the lender a fee upon entering into a derivative loan commitment (e.g., a rate lock fee), there is a transaction price, and the lender should recognize the derivative loan commitment as a liability at inception at an amount equal to the fee charged to the potential borrower.
17 If an institution commits to purchase a loan that will be closed by a correspondent in the correspondent's name, the institution would have a loan purchase commitment rather than a derivative loan commitment. Refer to footnote 8.
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