While many conduit loans require that borrowers engage in defeasance if they want to prepay their loan, some lenders permit borrowers to prepay using yield maintenance. Yield maintenance involves a borrower paying off the balance of their CMBS loan, plus an additional 1-3% fee in order to compensate the lender for the income they’ve lost as a result of loan prepayment.
Borrowers often consider conduit loans’ strict prepayment penalties to be one of their major downsides. Many CMBS loans must be prepaid in a process called defeasance, which involves a borrower purchasing alternative securities, often U.S. Treasury bonds, to replace the collateral and interest income that the lender will lose as a result of prepayment. Defeasance can be a complicated process, the details of which will typically be spelled out in a borrower’s loan agreement.
If you take out a CMBS loan, and you want to pay off the loan early, perhaps because you’re selling the property, you’ll usually have to pay a prepayment penalty. Prepayment penalties are designed to compensate the lender, or, in the case of CMBS loans, the investors, for the loss of income that will result from a borrower paying off their loan early.