Credit Facility Meaning
The credit facility is a preapproved loan facility provided by the bank to the companies wherein they can borrow money as and when required for its short term or long term needs without the need to reapply for a loan each time.
Types of Credit Facilities
Credit facilities are broadly classified as two types and we will mainly focus on credit facilities meant for business or corporates. The two types are i) Short term facilities as working capital requirement ii) Long term facilities required for capital expenditure or acquisition-related expenses.
#1 – Short Term Facilities
Short Term Loans
These are generally limited up to a year and are mainly borrowed by businesses for its working capital requirement. This may or may not be a secured one, which also is dependent on the credit rating of the borrower. At times the borrower may have to give its current assets such as inventories or receivables as collateral when the credit rating of the borrower is of non-investment grade.
To facilitate structures cash conversion cycle of business this type of credit facility is very useful and can be of the following types:
- Export credit: This kind of loan is granted by government agencies to export houses to enhance the growth of exports
- Letter of credit: Generally three parties are involved in such scenarios: Bank, supplier and company Bank here guarantees the payment from the company to the supplier and this is a much more secure form of credit facility. The bank issues the letter of credit based on the collateral from the company and this type of arrangement are more preferred by suppliers as it mitigates the risk of default to a great extent.
- Factoring: Factoring is a more advanced form of borrowing, where a company would involve a third party (Factor) to sell its account receivables at a discount to help them transfer the credit risk from their books. It helps the company to remove the receivables from its balance sheet which can further act as a source to fulfill its cash requirements.
- Credit from suppliers: This is more of a relationship-based where the supplier who has a strong relationship with its customers will be in a better position to provide credit after good negotiation of the payment terms to secure a profitable transaction.
Cash credit and overdraft
This is a type of facility where a borrower can withdraw money/funds more than what it has in its deposit. Interest rates are applicable to the extra amount which has been withdrawn apart from the amount in its deposit. The borrower’s credit score plays a crucial role in the size of credit and interest rate charged.
#2 – Long Term Facilities
These are generally unsecured in nature and raised from capital markets. They are generally costlier to compensate the elevated credit risk lenders are willing to take. This can be considered as an option when banks are in a denial state to provide any further credit line. They are generally meant for large tenure like 7-10 years.
This is one of the most common forms of credit facility where the amount, tenure and repayment schedule are predefined. These loans can be secured (high-risk borrowers} or unsecured (investment grade borrowers) and are usually given on floating interest rates. Before giving such loans banks need to perform crucial checks or due diligence in order to mitigate the credit risk.
A bridge loan is a loan which is utilized by companies for working capital requirements for an interim period of time when a company awaits long term financing or source of fund
This is a blend of equity and debt. This type of capital is usually not guaranteed by assets and is lent solely based on a company’s ability to repay the debt from free cash flow. Mezzanine financings can be structured either as debt or preferred stock. It gives the lender the right to convert to an equity interest in the company in case of default, generally, after venture capital companies and other senior lenders are paid.
This technique is pretty much similar to factoring. The only distinction is the institution involved and liquidity of the assets. In factoring the financial institution is the factor that purchases the trade receivables of a business, whereas in securitization there could more than one party who will purchase its long term receivables. Securitized assets can be NPA, mortgage receivables and credit card receivables.
Credit Facility Examples
The following are examples of credit facilities.
Under credit facility, for example, suppose Customer X is given a $50000 credit facility or LOC for investment in a new venture which is secured against some collateral by a bank. The bank fixes loan term of 10 years for the repayment of the loan and Customer X is permissible to utilize the funds within the overall limit ($50000) and an interest rate of 20% is charged.
Customer X spent $10000 and will be charged 20% of the amount spent only and not on the entire $50000 LOC. Thus the interest charged will be 20% * $10000 = $2000.
Example #2 – Using Letter of Credit
Suppose the company “Atlantis” sells electronics in New York and Company “Proline” manufactures electronics in Detroit. “Atlantis” wants to import $500,000 worth of electronics manufactured by “Proline” and is concerned about “Atlantis’s” ability to pay for them. “Atlantis” is offered a letter of credit from its tied up bank i.e. Bank of America, meaning that it will produce the required goods on the $500,000 payment, suppose in 90 days, or the bank will take responsibility for paying by itself. Bank of New York will then be sending LOC to “Proline”, which further takes the charge of shipping the electronics.
Once shipped, “Proline” or its respective bank will claim for its $500,000 by bringing forward a written note (also called a bill of exchange) to Bank of New York. Letters of credit are more beneficial to sellers, but they also safeguard buyers, because “Proline” must bring forward Bank of America evidence or receipts of the electronics shipment to facilitate the payment.
This evidence is generally bill of lading, invoices or an airway bill. Following this Bank of New York pays “Proline”, and looks over to “Atlantis” for reimbursement generally by debiting “Atlantis’s bank account.
Difference Between a Loan vs Credit Facility
Both loan and credit facility is the two most commonly used products for both individuals and corporates. However, there are a few differences between the two.
- When the loan is granted it provides the borrower access to all the money at one go whereas for a credit facility money can be obtained whenever there is a liquidity crunch.
- The loan is like a piggy bank where you break it and take out all your money whereas in credit facility you only use what you require. Secondly, there lies also a difference in terms of the interest paid.
- A loan requires an interest payment for all the capital that has been lent to an individual or company.
- On the other hand, interest is charged only on the amount of money used and not on the amount of money made available to the individual or company.
- However, at times, one can be subjected to an unused balance fee, when one does not make use of the money at all. Loans have greater term duration and thus bear a higher interest payment when compared to credit facilities.
- Lastly, the way the customer pays back the money received also differs in loans and credit facilities. In loan, the concept of EMI or monthly installments arises where when the entire money is repaid the operation is closed without the possibility of borrowing more money without a fresh loan agreement.
- The manner credit facility works is different. Here customers renew their contract every year to use the line of credit whenever required.
Thus, credit facilities have a lot of importance from a business point of view. One of the best things about a credit facility is that no one dictates how the cash should be utilized, unlike a bank loan. Sometimes certain loans come with clauses attached where the financier has full authority on how the cash has to be utilized.
They are much more flexible as whenever a need arises business can make use of it. Also, it is important for a business to build a strong credit history which makes it easy to obtain such facilities. Being charged low-interest rates as compared to credit cards these are highly beneficial to the company.
This has been a guide to Credit Facility and its meaning. Here we discuss the top 2 types of credit facilities (short term and long term) along with the examples. You can more about finance from the following articles –