What is a Financial Guarantee?
A financial guarantee is a contractual promise made by a bank, insurance company, or other entity to guarantee payment of a debt obligation of another party – such as a company. Essentially, a financial guarantee is a type of warranty attached to a debt. Individuals may also provide financial guarantees, such as when a parent co-signs a loan for their child.
The individual or entity who provides a financial guarantee is referred to as the guarantor of the debt obligation. Its purpose of financial guarantees is to reduce or mitigate risk for the lender or investor who provided the money borrowed.
A common example of a financial guarantee is where an insurance company provides such a guarantee for bonds issued by a company for financing. The insurance company ensures that the bond purchasers will be paid back their principal investment and the interest due to them, even if the company issuing the bonds defaults on repaying them.
- A financial guarantee is a promise made by an individual, bank, insurance company, or other entity to guarantee payment of a debt obligation of another party.
- The purpose of financial guarantees is to facilitate financial transactions.
- They are commonly provided by banks and insurance companies.
Different Types of Financial Guarantees
There are numerous situations in which a financial guarantee may be required or utilized. Also, there are several different sources of financial guarantees – individuals, companies, banks, insurance companies, and other entities. Below are some of the most common situations where they are used:
1. Individual financial guarantees
Financial guarantees provided by individuals occur all the time. Parents with good, established credit may become a guarantor of debt by co-signing a loan agreement or rental agreement for one of their children who lacks an established credit history or has a poor credit rating.
2. Bond guarantees
Many bonds issued by companies are supported with a financial guarantee of the bond’s payments to investors by an insurance company. In such cases, the insurance company may provide either a full or partial guarantee of the bond payments due.
3. Financial guarantees from companies
Public or private companies commonly provide financial guarantees for their subsidiary companies. The parent company of a subsidiary typically has more extensive financial resources than the subsidiary company does. Therefore, if the subsidiary is seeking a large loan, the lender may require the parent company to act as a guarantor of the loan.
The lender may simply require a contractual obligation by the parent company to cover the debt repayment if necessary, or it may require that the parent company pledge assets as collateral for the loan. A company involved in a joint venture may also act as a guarantor of a debt obligation if it is financially much larger and financially sound than its partner in the joint venture.
4. Bank financial guarantees
Banks frequently provide a wide variety of financial guarantees for their clients. One of the most commonly issued types of bank guarantees is a guarantee of payment to a seller by a buyer. Such a guarantee is often used in the case of large international transactions. As the seller may not lack sufficient knowledge about the buyer, they may require a guarantee of payment from the buyer’s bank.
The buyer’s bank may, in turn, require the buyer to deposit the necessary funds for the purchase with the bank. A bank may also provide what is known as a performance or warranty bond that essentially guarantees that the goods provided to a buyer are as promised and delivered as agreed by contract with the seller.
Banks also sometimes provide an advance payment guarantee, which is a promise to refund any advance payment on goods made by a buyer in the event that the seller fails to deliver the goods.
Why Financial Guarantees are Made
Financial guarantees are important because they facilitate many different types of transactions. As you can easily see from any of the examples given above, financial guarantees make it possible to do business that may otherwise not be able to be conducted – such as making it possible for individuals to obtain loans for purchases, for companies to issue debt in the form of bonds, or for large cross-border transactions to take place.
CFI offers the Commercial Banking & Credit Analyst (CBCA)™ certification program for those looking to take their careers to the next level. To keep learning and advancing your career, the following resources will be helpful: