A revolving credit agreement is nothing more than a guaranteed line of credit. It is guaranteed in the sense that the commercial bank assures the borrower that a specified amount of funds will be made available regardless of the scarcity of money. The interest rate and other requirements are similar to those for a line of credit. It is not uncommon for a revolving credit agreement to be for a period greater than 1 year.2 Because the bank guarantees the availability of funds, a commitment fee is normally charged on a revolving credit agreement. This fee often applies to the average unused balance of the borrower’s credit line. It is normally about 0.5 percent of the average unused portion of the line.
revolving credit agreement
A line of credit guaranteed to a borrower by a commercial bank regardless of the scarcity of money.
The fee that is normally charged on a revolving credit agreement; it often applies to the average unused portion of the borrower’s credit line.
REH Company, a major real estate developer, has a $2 million revolving credit agreement with its bank. Its average borrowing under the agreement for the past year was $1.5 million. The bank charges a commitment fee of 0.5% on the average unused balance. Because the average unused portion of the committed funds was $500,000 ($2 million − $1.5 million), the commitment fee for the year was $2,500 (0.005 × $500,000). Of course, REH also had to pay interest on the actual $1.5 million borrowed under the agreement. Assuming that $112,500 interest was paid on the $1.5 million borrowed, the effective cost of the agreement was 7.67% [($112,500 + $2,500) ÷ $1,500,000]. Although more expensive than a line of credit, a revolving credit agreement can be less risky from the borrower’s viewpoint because the availability of funds is guaranteed.
2. Many authors classify the revolving credit agreement as a form of intermediate-term financing, defined as having a maturity of 1 to 7 years, but we do not use the intermediate-term financing classification; only short-term and long-term classifications are made. Because many revolving credit agreements are for more than 1 year, they can be classified as a form of long-term financing; however, they are discussed here because of their similarity to line-of-credit agreements.