HVCRE Rules Eased. What You Need to Know

HVCRE Rules Eased. What You Need to Know

January 23, 2020

Beginning Q2-2020 Financial Institutions (FIs) will report High Volatility Commercial Real Estate (HVCRE) using recently eased and clarified rules. HVCRE loans are assigned a risk weight of 150% reflecting their construction and stabilization risk versus 100% for most commercial loans.

Key changes/clarifications are:

  • AD&C loans for owner-occupied CRE are exempt(source of repayment is non-CRE Op Co cash flow)
  • Complete and Stabilized income property HVCRE can be reclassified to non-HVCRE (must meet internal UW requirements for income property)
  • AD&C CRE projects are exempt where LTV is less than max Supervisory LTV ratios (which is typically 80% to 85% for construction loans depending on the property type) and borrower capital is >= 15% of“ as completed” value (capital can be cash, cash-like subject to margin requirements, borrowed funds not related to the AD&C loan, and appraised value of contributed property.)
  • AD&C loans secured by 1 to 4 residential are exempt including SFRs, THs, duplexes, and residential condo or co-op loans with5 or more units if repayment comes from sale of individual units.
  • All unsecured AD&C loans are now exempt(must be secured by RE).
  • Agricultural land loans are exempt.  
  • Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) loans will remain exempt.
  • AD&C land loan are not exempt unless they meet one of the other exemptions (loans to finance sewers, water pipes, and similar improvements to land are not exempt.

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HVCRE is now defined more narrowly as HVCRE ADC:

  1. primarily finance or refinance the acquisition, development, or construction of real property; and
  2. purpose is to acquire, develop, or improve into income producing real estate; and - repayment is dependent on a) future income generated by the property, b) future proceeds from selling the property, or c) a refinance.

New rules are now all-or-nothing and key terms and designations are linked to Call Report and Y-9 definitions. If 50% or more of the cash flow, loan funds or collateral are HVCRE ADC related then 100% of the loan is considered HVCRE. Exemptions now incorporate Supervisory LTV and borrower contributed capital.  Analyses of collateral and borrower-contributed capital has to be properly documented.  

A borrower can contribute capital in the form of cash, unencumbered marketable assets, related appraised value of real property, and development expenses paid out of pocket (to include legal fees, appraisals, development fees, and any other fees needed to complete the project).  There is no restriction on distributing contributed capital in excess of the 15% requirement.


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The new rules allow for declassification of HVCRE.

Project must be complete and the cash flow sufficient to meet debt service and operating expenses consistent with internal underwriting standards.  

Currently, should a borrower wish to refinance a maturing HVCRE loan and reclassify the construction loan to a permanent loan (a normal 10-year fixed-rate loan), the lender would have to receive full payment and close out the loan entirely. Under these conditions, banks run the risk of losing that loan to a competitor. The clarified rule would allow banks to transition HVCRE loans to permanent loans once the project is stable, allowing banks to keep the loan on their books. 


a. CRE lenders with existing HVCRE exposure should review each loan for declassification. Due to the technical requirements involved with classifying and declassifying HVCRE we recommend using an HVCRE checklist to assist UW and portfolio management personnel in determining the correct designation.  

b. All banks should review internal controls and procedures to accurately reflect the information correctly in their loan monitoring reports and Call Reports. 

c. Many community banks that choose to opt in to simplified CBLR (Community Banking Leverage ratio) framework after March 31, 2020 may not need to necessarily worry about HVCRE classifications for capital calculations. However, CBLR framework may not be the best option for banks in strong growth mode, or those that are contemplating a merger transaction – and thus they may still need to stay abreast with HVCRE developments.

d. Final designations should be documented highlighting the key HVCRE considerations

e. We also recommend periodic stress testing of AD&C loans to understand the range of capital at risk underlying this asset class.

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RMA RIsk Maturity Framework

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Take the self-assessment today to
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