Commercial lenders will be glad to learn the Supreme Court of Ohio recently released a slip opinion overturning the Eighth District Court of Appeals’ decision in JNT Properties, LLC v. KeyBank, Nat’l Assoc. and concluding that KeyBank’s use of a "365/360" method of interest calculation in a commercial promissory note was not ambiguous.
As previously reported in our July 2011 and January 2012 blog posts, this case concerned KeyBank’s use of the 365/360 method of interest calculation. The promissory note at issue set the initial interest rate at 8.93% per annum, but also stated:
The annual interest rate for this Note is computed on a 365/360 basis; that is, by applying the ratio of the annual interest rate over a year of 360 days, multiplied by the outstanding principal balance, multiplied by the actual number of days the principal balance is outstanding.
The Court of Appeals held on June 30, 2011, that the language describing the 365/360 method could not "be read as clearly evidencing an intent of the parties to alter the ordinary meaning of the term ‘per annum,’ or as creating an ‘annual interest rate’ other than the stated rate of 8.93 percent." (The use of the 365/360 method of computation resulted instead in an effective interest rate of 9.05% per annum.)
On appeal by KeyBank, which was supported by an amici curae brief of the American Bankers Association and the Ohio Bankers League, the Supreme Court of Ohio reversed. The Supreme Court found that although the note’s …
Continue Reading →
On November 30, 2011, the Supreme Court of Ohio accepted KeyBank’s appeal from the judgment in JNT Properties, LLC v. KeyBank, Nat’l Assoc., decided by the Eighth District Court of Appeals in Cuyahoga County, Ohio on June 30, 2011. As our July 2011 blog post, available here, explained, this case hinged on whether KeyBank’s use of the "365/360 method" of interest calculation, resulting in an effective interest rate of 9.05% per annum, breached a promissory note pursuant to which JNT Properties had agreed to repay principal together with interest at the rate of 8.93% per annum. The Eighth District Court found that the "365/360 method" used in the case "cannot be read as clearly evidencing an intent of the parties to alter the ordinary meaning of the term ‘per annum,’ or as creating an ‘annual interest rate’ other than the stated rate of 8.93 percent." 2011-Ohio-3260, at ¶ 21 (internal quotations omitted). Concluding that genuine issues of material fact remained, the Eighth District Court reversed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of KeyBank.
Since we last reported, KeyBank filed a Notice of Appeal of the case and Memorandum of Jurisdiction with the Supreme Court of Ohio on August 15, 2011. On the same date, the American Bankers Association and the Ohio Bankers League filed a Jurisdictional Memorandum of Amici Curae in support of KeyBank, arguing that the case is one of great public interest and could impact thousands of commercial loan transactions in Ohio. On …
Continue Reading →
On June 30, 2011, the Eighth District Court of Appeals in Cuyahoga County, Ohio decided the case of JNT Properties, LLC v. KeyBank, Nat’l Assoc., which dealt with the calculation of interest on a commercial loan by what is known as the “365/360 method.” The court held that KeyBank’s interest calculation method for the loan was unintelligible because although a provision toward the top of the note contained a stated annual interest rate of a certain percentage, that provision was contradicted by another term in the note relating to calculation of interest. Accordingly, lenders using the common “365/360 method” should ensure that their loan documents clearly and intelligibly describe the calculation of interest.
The case originated when JNT Properties filed a class action against KeyBank, alleging breach of contract based on KeyBank’s use of the “365/360 method” for the calculation of interest. The promissory note in question stated that the “Initial Interest Rate” was 8.93%, but then elsewhere in the document stated as follows:…
Continue Reading →