Notes are a common form of exchange in business transactions for cash, property, goods, and services. Notes represent debt issued to a single investor without intending for the debt to be broken up among many investors. A note's maturity, usually lasting one to seven years, tends to be shorter than that of a bond.
Bonds are primarily used to borrow funds from the general public or institutional investors when a contract for a single amount (a note) is too large for any one lender to supply. Dividing up the amount needed into $1,000 or $10,000 units makes it easier to sell the bonds. Bonds also result from a single agreement.
Notes and bonds share common characteristics. They both are promises to pay sums of money at designated maturity dates, plus periodic interest payments at stated rates. They each feature written agreements stating the amounts of principal, the interest rates, when the interest and principal are to be paid, and the restrictive covenants, if any, that must be met.
The interest rate is affected by many factors, including the cost of money, the business risk factors, and general and industry‐specific inflationary expectations. The stated rate on a note or bond often differs from the market rate at the time of issuance. When this occurs, the present value of the interest and principal payments will differ from the maturity, or face value. (For a complete discussion of present value techniques see Chapter 1.) If the ...