The well-known subprime mortgage crisis, which began to manifest in early 2007, since when the effects of the speculative bubble begin to become evident from the increase in default rates in residential mortgages, has triggered a global crisis that has pushed various legislations over time to implement a series of financial reforms with the specific objective of avoiding that similar phenomena could be repeated over time. The ability to repay a loan is strongly influenced by the amortization algorithm that the bank has decided to adopt. This appears even more evident in variable interest rate loans since, as the economic conditions of the indexation parameter change, the definition of the loan balance and the related portion of interest will be decisive in relation to the borrower’s ability to repay the loaned capital. A study of the main amortization algorithms and the related descriptions in the bank contracts will allow us to show which are the main issues due to an information asymmetry that, unfortunately, characterizes this type of contract and would seem to be one of the main reasons that lie at the root of the aforementioned crisis of subprime mortgages in the USA. Moreover, the authors will provide a clear analysis of the financial indicators usually reported in loan contracts and how often these indications are insufficient to characterize the actual cost of the loan. Furthermore, by highlighting the discretionary choice that banks often obtain following the contractual loan schemes commonly offered to retail and corporate clients, we will show how this often translates into greater cost to the borrower. Finally, we will propose two possible solutions to the problems highlighted, thus allowing us to reduce this information gap, which unfortunately translates into greater costs for customers with the associated increase in default rates, or the so-called nonperforming loan (NPLs) contracts. Therefore, the objective of this contribution is to show which are the most critical aspects of the bank contracts related to contractual transparency and to the presence or otherwise of hidden costs, i.e., not expressly shown in the contract. Specifically, we refer to the loan contracts issued in Italy both with reference to the local banking legislation and to the European one to which Italy must often refer.
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