What Is a Loan Subordination?

A loan subordination is when a borrower agrees to make their loan second in line to another lender. This happens when a borrower takes out a second loan and the new lender requires that their loan be in first position.

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A loan subordination is a type of financial agreement in which one debt is given priority over another. In the event of default, the subordinated debt will be paid only after the senior debt is paid in full. This arrangement is often used when multiple creditors are involved, as it allows them to rank their claims against the borrower.

Loan subordinations can be either voluntary or involuntary. Voluntary subordinations occur when the borrower agrees to subordinate a portion of their debt to another creditor. This is often done to secure additional financing, or to make it easier to refinance an existing loan. Involuntary subordinations, on the other hand, occur when a court orders that one debt be given priority over another. This usually happens in bankruptcy proceedings, where creditors may fight for precedence.

While loan subordinations are relatively rare, they can have a major impact on the rights of creditors. As such, it’s important to understand how they work before entering into any type of financial agreement.

What is a loan subordination?

A subordination agreement is a contract that allows one lender to take a subordinate position to another lender. In other words, the second lender agrees that their loan will be paid second, after the first lender is paid, in the event of foreclosure.

A subordination agreement is commonly used when a borrower wants to refinance their home and they have a home equity line of credit (HELOC) or second mortgage. The agreement allows the borrower to keep their HELOC or second mortgage and still get a new first mortgage.

The terms of the subordination agreement will vary depending on the lenders involved. The agreement should spell out exactly who is subordinate to whom and what happens if there is a foreclosure. It is important to review the agreement carefully before signing it.

How does a loan subordination work?

In a typical loan subordination, the original lender agrees to let a new lender “take its place” in line for repayment. The new lender pays off the old lender, and the borrower repays the new lender according to the terms of the new loan. In other words, the old loan is “subordinated” to the new one.

There are two common types of loan subordinations: voluntary and involuntary. A voluntary subordination occurs when all parties involved agree to the terms of the subordination. An involuntary subordination happens when a court orders it as part of a bankruptcy or foreclosure proceeding.

In a voluntary subordination, the original lender may require that certain conditions be met before agreeing to subordinate its loan. For example, the borrower may be required to obtain approval from the original lender before taking out a new loan. The terms of the new loan may also be negotiated as part of a voluntary subordination agreement.

An involuntary subordination may be ordered by a court in order to protect the interests of all parties involved in a bankruptcy or foreclosure proceeding. In these cases, the terms of the original loan cannot be changed without court approval.

What are the benefits of a loan subordination?

A subordination agreement is a contract that allows a lender to take a junior position to another lender. In other words, the subordinated lender agrees that its loan will be repaid after the senior loan is repaid. The most common type of subordination is found when a borrower has both a first and second mortgage and wants to refinance the first mortgage. The second mortgage holder agrees to subordinate their loan so that the new first mortgage lender is in first position.

There are several benefits of loan subordination. First, it allows borrowers to take advantage of lower interest rates by refinancing their primary mortgage without having to pay off their second mortgage. Second, subordination can provide additional protection for lenders in the event that a borrower defaults on their loan and the property is sold in foreclosure. By agreeing to subordinate their loan, the second mortgage lender agrees not accept any of the proceeds from the sale of the property if it is sold for less than what is owed on the primary mortgage. This protects the primary lender from having to share any of its proceeds with the second mortgage lender if there are insufficient funds to repay both loans in full.

In some cases, subordination agreements can also be used to help borrowers qualify for a new loan when they would not otherwise meet the income or credit requirements. For example, if a borrower has a high debt-to-income ratio but strong credit, they may be able to get a new loan by agreeing to have their existing loans subordinated. This allows lenders to take on more risk because they know that they will be repaid before any other creditors in the event of default.

What are the risks of a loan subordination?

There are several risks associated with loan subordination. One of the biggest risks is that the senior lender could foreclose on the property, leaving the subordinate lender without any recourse. If the property is sold at a foreclosure sale, the proceeds from the sale would go to the senior lender first, and any remaining balance would be paid to the subordinate lender.

Another risk is that the value of the property could decrease, leaving the subordinate lender with a loan that is worth more than the property. This could happen if there is a decrease in the overall market value of properties or if there are specific problems with the property itself.

Finally, if the borrower defaults on their loan, both lenders could lose money. The subordinate lender would lose all of their investment, while the senior lender would only lose a portion of their investment.


In short, a loan subordination is when one loan takes priority over another loan. In the event of a default, the lender of the subordinated loan would be paid only after the lender of the senior loan is paid in full. Loan subordinations are often used in situations where multiple properties are being used as collateral for a loan, or when a borrower wants to refinance an existing property and use it as collateral for a new loan.

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