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Loan and Mortgage Terms Glossary

Fair Value:

A method of determining what a troubled asset would be worth (its present value) if its present owner sold it in the current market. Fair value assumes a reasonable marketing period, a willing buyer and a willing seller. It assumes that the current selling price (its present value) would rise or fall in relation to the asset's future earnings potential. To calculate that price, fair value converts the asset's future earnings into what they are worth in today's dollars, using a formula that discounts the assets' future net cash flows. The discount is based on the fact that a dollar earned in the future is equal to, say, $.75 invested today plus interest over an equivalent period of time. Thus, a dollar received today and invested is worth more than a dollar received in the future. Fair value, therefore is based on a formula incorporating rates of interest earned. While market value measures the sales price agreed to by the buyer and seller, ots defines fair value as measuring the value of what the seller would receive less selling costs. Fair value is one accounting method used to calculate the present value of an asset (a loan) at some point after the loan has become past due and book value is no longer valid. See net realizable value.

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