A letter written by a company’s bank to the company’s foreign supplier, stating that the bank guarantees payment of an invoiced amount if all the underlying agreements are met.
Firms that do business in foreign countries on an ongoing basis often finance their operations, at least in part, in the local market. A company that has an assembly plant in Mexico, for example, might choose to finance its purchases of Mexican goods and services with peso funds borrowed from a Mexican bank. This practice not only minimizes exchange rate risk but also improves the company’s business ties to the host community. Multinational companies, however, sometimes finance their international transactions through dollar-denominated loans from international banks. The Eurocurrency loan markets allow creditworthy borrowers to obtain financing on attractive terms.
Much international trade involves transactions between corporate subsidiaries. A U.S. company might, for example, manufacture one part in an Asian plant and another part in the United States, assemble the product in Brazil, and sell it in Europe. The shipment of goods back and forth between subsidiaries creates accounts receivable and accounts payable, but the parent company has considerable discretion about how and when payments are made. In particular, the parent can minimize foreign exchange fees and other transaction costs by “netting” what affiliates owe each other and paying only the net amount due rather than having both subsidiaries pay each other the gross amounts due.
When a firm has exhausted its sources of unsecured short-term financing, it may be able to obtain additional short-term loans on a secured basis. Secured short-term financing has specific assets pledged as collateral. The collateral commonly takes the form of an asset, such as accounts receivable or inventory. The lender obtains a security interest in the collateral through the execution of a security agreement with the borrower that specifies the collateral held against the loan. In addition, the terms of the loan against which the security is held form part of the security agreement. A copy of the security agreement is filed in a public office within the state, usually a county or state court. Filing provides subsequent lenders with information about which assets of a prospective borrower are unavailable for use as collateral. The filing requirement protects the lender by legally establishing the lender’s security interest.
secured short-term financing
Short-term financing (loan) that has specific assets pledged as collateral.
The agreement between the borrower and the lender that specifies the collateral held against a secured loan.