DEFINITION of 'Call Loan Rate'

The short term interest rate charged by banks on loans extended to broker-dealers. A call loan rate is an interest charged on loans made to broker-dealers who use the funds to make margin loans to their margin account clients. These loans are payable by the broker-dealer on call (i.e. on demand or immediately) upon receiving such request from the lending institution. The call loan rate forms the basis upon which margin loans are priced. The call loan rate can fluctuate daily in response to factors such as market interest rates, funds' supply and demand, and economic conditions. The rate is published in daily publications including the Wall Street Journal and Investor's Business Daily (IBD). Also called broker's call.

BREAKING DOWN 'Call Loan Rate'

A call loan is a loan given to a broker-dealer that is used to finance client margin accounts. The interest rate on a call loan is calculated daily; this rate is known as the call loan rate, or broker's call. A margin account is a type of brokerage account in which the broker lends the client cash that is used to purchase securities. The loan is collateralized by the securities held in the account, and by cash that the margin account holder is required to have deposited. A margin account enables investors to use leverage; that is, they are able to trade larger positions than they would otherwise be able to. While this has the potential to magnify profits, trading on margin can also result in magnified losses.

Clients must be approved for margin accounts and are required to make a minimum initial deposit, known as the minimum margin, in the account. Once the account is approved and funded, investors can borrow up to 50% of the purchase price of the transaction. If the account value falls below a stated minimum (known as the maintenance margin), the broker will require the account holder to deposit more funds or liquidate position(s) to pay down the loan.

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