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Comment for 1026.22 - Determination of Annual Percentage Rate

22(a) Accuracy of Annual Percentage Rate

Paragraph 22(a)(1)

1. Calculation method. The regulation recognizes both the actuarial method and the United States Rule Method (U.S. Rule) as measures of an exact annual percentage rate. Both methods yield the same annual percentage rate when payment intervals are equal. They differ in their treatment of unpaid accrued interest.

2. Actuarial method. When no payment is made, or when the payment is insufficient to pay the accumulated finance charge, the actuarial method requires that the unpaid finance charge be added to the amount financed and thereby capitalized. Interest is computed on interest since in succeeding periods the interest rate is applied to the unpaid balance including the unpaid finance charge. Appendix J provides instructions and examples for calculating the annual percentage rate using the actuarial method.

3. U.S. Rule. The U.S. Rule produces no compounding of interest in that any unpaid accrued interest is accumulated separately and is not added to principal. In addition, under the U.S. Rule, no interest calculation is made until a payment is received.

4. Basis for calculations. When a transaction involves “step rates” or “split rates” - that is, different rates applied at different times or to different portions of the principal balance - a single composite annual percentage rate must be calculated and disclosed for the entire transaction. Assume, for example, a step-rate transaction in which a $10,000 loan is repayable in 5 years at 10 percent interest for the first 2 years, 12 percent for years 3 and 4, and 14 percent for year 5. The monthly payments are $210.71 during the first 2 years of the term, $220.25 for years 3 and 4, and $222.59 for year 5. The composite annual percentage rate, using a calculator with a “discounted cash flow analysis” or “internal rate of return” function, is 10.75 percent.

5. Good faith reliance on faulty calculation tools. Section 1026.22(a)(1) absolves a creditor of liability for an error in the annual percentage rate or finance charge that resulted from a corresponding error in a calculation tool used in good faith by the creditor. Whether or not the creditor's use of the tool was in good faith must be determined on a case-by-case basis, but the creditor must in any case have taken reasonable steps to verify the accuracy of the tool, including any instructions, before using it. Generally, the creditor is not liable only for errors directly attributable to the calculation tool itself, including software programs; § 1026.22(a)(1) is not intended to absolve a creditor of liability for its own errors, or for errors arising from improper use of the tool, from incorrect data entry, or from misapplication of the law.

Paragraph 22(a)(2)

1. Regular transactions. The annual percentage rate for a regular transaction is considered accurate if it varies in either direction by not more than 1/8 of 1 percentage point from the actual annual percentage rate. For example, when the exact annual percentage rate is determined to be 101/8%, a disclosed annual percentage rate from 10% to 10 1/4%, or the decimal equivalent, is deemed to comply with the regulation.

Paragraph 22(a)(3)

1. Irregular transactions. The annual percentage rate for an irregular transaction is considered accurate if it varies in either direction by not more than 1/4 of 1 percentage point from the actual annual percentage rate. This tolerance is intended for more complex transactions that do not call for a single advance and a regular series of equal payments at equal intervals. The 1/4 of 1 percentage point tolerance may be used, for example, in a construction loan where advances are made as construction progresses, or in a transaction where payments vary to reflect the consumer's seasonal income. It may also be used in transactions with graduated payment schedules where the contract commits the consumer to several series of payments in different amounts. It does not apply, however, to loans with variable rate features where the initial disclosures are based on a regular amortization schedule over the life of the loan, even though payments may later change because of the variable rate feature.

22(a)(4) Mortgage Loans

1. Example. If a creditor improperly omits a $75 fee from the finance charge on a regular transaction, the understated finance charge is considered accurate under § 1026.18(d)(1) or § 1026.38(o)(2), as applicable, and the annual percentage rate corresponding to that understated finance charge also is considered accurate even if it falls outside the tolerance of 1/8 of 1 percentage point provided under § 1026.22(a)(2). Because a $75 error was made, an annual percentage rate corresponding to a $100 understatement of the finance charge would not be considered accurate.

22(a)(5) Additional Tolerance for Mortgage Loans

1. Example. This paragraph contains an additional tolerance for a disclosed annual percentage rate that is incorrect but is closer to the actual annual percentage rate than the rate that would be considered accurate under the tolerance in § 1026.22(a)(4). To illustrate: in an irregular transaction subject to a 1/4 of 1 percentage point tolerance, if the actual annual percentage rate is 9.00 percent and a $75 omission from the finance charge corresponds to a rate of 8.50 percent that is considered accurate under § 1026.22(a)(4), a disclosed APR of 8.65 percent is within the tolerance in § 1026.22(a)(5). In this example of an understated finance charge, a disclosed annual percentage rate below 8.50 or above 9.25 percent will not be considered accurate.

22(b) Computation Tools

Paragraph 22(b)(1)

1. Bureau tables. Volumes I and II of the Bureau's Annual Percentage Rate Tables provide a means of calculating annual percentage rates for regular and irregular transactions, respectively. An annual percentage rate computed in accordance with the instructions in the tables is deemed to comply with the regulation, even where use of the tables produces a rate that falls outside the general standard of accuracy. To illustrate:Volume I may be used for single advance transactions with completely regular payment schedules or with payment schedules that are regular except for an odd first payment, odd first period or odd final payment. When used for a transaction with a large final balloon payment, Volume I may produce a rate that is considerably higher than the exact rate produced using a computer program based directly on appendix J. However, the Volume I rate - produced using certain adjustments in that volume - is considered to be in compliance.

Paragraph 22(b)(2)

1. Other calculation tools. Creditors need not use the Bureau tables in calculating the annual percentage rates. Any computation tools may be used, so long as they produce annual percentage rates within 1/8 or 1/4 of 1 percentage point, as applicable, of the precise actuarial or U.S. Rule annual percentage rate.

22(c) Single Add-On Rate Transactions

1. General rule. Creditors applying a single add-on rate to all transactions up to 60 months in length may disclose the same annual percentage rate for all those transactions, although the actual annual percentage rate varies according to the length of the transaction. Creditors utilizing this provision must show the highest of those rates. For example, an add-on rate of 10 percent converted to an annual percentage rate produces the following actual annual percentage rates at various maturities: At 3 months, 14.94 percent; at 21 months, 18.18 percent; and at 60 months, 17.27 percent. The creditor must disclose an annual percentage rate of 18.18 percent (the highest annual percentage rate) for any transaction up to 5 years, even though that rate is precise only for a transaction of 21 months.

22(d) Certain Transactions Involving Ranges of Balances

1. General rule. Creditors applying a fixed dollar finance charge to all balances within a specified range of balances may understate the annual percentage rate by up to 8 percent of that rate, by disclosing for all those balances the annual percentage rate computed on the median balance within that range. For example: If a finance charge of $9 applies to all balances between $91 and $100, an annual percentage rate of 10 percent (the rate on the median balance) may be disclosed as the annual percentage rate for all balances, even though a $9 finance charge applied to the lowest balance ($91) would actually produce an annual percentage rate of 10.7 percent.