DEFINITION of 'Deferment Period'

1. A time during which a borrower does not have to pay interest or repay the principal on a loan. Deferment is common with student loans, and may be granted while the student is still in school or just after graduation when the student has few resources to repay the loan. Deferment may also be granted at the lender's discretion during other periods of financial hardship to provide temporary relief from debt payments and an alternative to default.

2. The period after the issue of a callable security during which it cannot be called by the issuer.

BREAKING DOWN 'Deferment Period'

1. During a loan's deferment period, interest may or may not accrue. Borrowers should check their loan terms to determine whether a loan deferment means they will owe more interest than if they did not defer the payment. With student loans being federal loans, they do not accrue interest during the deferment period, but private loans typically do.

2. Different types of securities will have a call option allowing the issuer to buy them back at a predetermined price. The issuer cannot call the security back during the deferment period, which is uniformly predetermined by the underwriter and the issuer at the time of issuance.

For example, European options have a deferment period for the life of the option - they can be called only on expiry. Most municipal bonds are callable and have a deferment period of 10 years.

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