What Is Asset-Based Lending?
Asset-based lending is an asset-based loan or line of credit that is secured by accounts receivable, inventory, equipment or other property owned by the borrower. Asset-based lending is just one of the many products that Porter Capital offers clients.
How Asset-Based Lending Works
Many businesses need to take out loans or obtain lines of credit to meet routine cash flow demands. For example, a business might obtain a line of credit to make sure it can cover its payroll expenses even if there is a brief delay in payments it expects to receive.
If the company seeking the loan cannot show enough cash flow or cash assets to cover a loan, the lender may offer to approve the loan with its physical assets as collateral. For example, a new restaurant might obtain a loan by only using its equipment as collateral.
An asset-based loan’s terms and conditions depend on the type and value of the assets offered as security. Lenders prefer highly liquid collateral such as securities that can readily be converted to cash if the borrower defaults on the payments.
Loans using physical assets are considered riskier, so the maximum loan will be considerably less than the assets’ book value. Interest rates charged vary widely, depending on the applicant’s credit history, cash flow and length of time doing business.
Interest rates on asset-based loans are lower than rates on unsecured loans since the lender can recoup most or all of its losses in the event that the borrower defaults.
For example, say a company seeks a $200,000 loan to expand its operations. If the company pledges the highly liquid marketable securities on its balance sheet as collateral, the lender may grant a loan equaling 85% of the securities’ face value.
If the firm’s securities are valued at $200,000, the lender will be willing to loan $170,000. If the company chooses to pledge fewer liquid assets, such as real estate or equipment, it may only be offered 50% of its required financing, or $100,000.
In both cases, the discount represents the cost of converting the collateral to cash and its potential loss in market value.
Small and mid-sized companies that are stable and have physical assets of value are the most common asset-based borrowers.
However, even large corporations may occasionally seek asset-based loans to cover short-term needs. The cost and long lead time of issuing additional shares or bonds in the capital markets may be too high.
The cash demand may be extremely time-sensitive, such as in the case of a major acquisition or an unexpected equipment purchase.