Understanding credit facilities

Monday 18th September 2023

A credit facility is a pivotal cornerstone in the world of finance, providing businesses with the flexibility and liquidity they often require to operate efficiently.

It's an essential instrument that allows businesses to access funds as and when they need them, rather than raising capital each time there's a requirement.

What is a credit facility?

A credit facility is a type of arrangement between a financial institution, typically a bank, and a borrower. This arrangement allows the borrower to draw down on a pre-agreed amount of funds to meet their business or operational requirements.

Such a facility is often established to provide companies with immediate access to cash, without the need to navigate through the often lengthy loan application process each time.

The different types of credit facilities

1. Revolving credit facility

This is among the most common types of credit facilities. It provides borrowers with the flexibility to borrow, repay, and borrow again up to a pre-determined limit.

2. Term loan facility

Different from a revolving credit facility, a term loan facility provides a lump sum of capital upfront. This must be repaid over a fixed period, typically with regular instalments.

3. Letter of credit

This is a commitment by a bank on behalf of a buyer that payment will be made to a seller. It is beneficial in international trade, offering an assurance that payment will be received.

4. Bridging loan facility

As the name suggests, this is a short-term loan intended to bridge the gap between longer-term financing solutions. It's often used during property purchases.

Benefits of a credit facility

  • Flexibility: Borrowers can draw funds as required and repay when they have surplus liquidity.
  • Immediate access: Reduces the need for lengthy loan application processes each time funds are required.
  • Economical: Depending on the agreement, the interest may only be paid on the drawn amount, not the entire facility limit.
  • Enhanced cash flow: Businesses can better manage operational costs and invest in growth opportunities.

Factors influencing the terms of a credit facility

  • Creditworthiness: A borrower's credit history and ability to repay.
  • Relationship with the bank: Long-standing, positive relationships may lead to favourable terms.
  • Economic environment: Prevailing interest rates and economic conditions can influence terms.
  • Purpose of the facility: What the borrowed funds will be used for can affect terms and conditions.

Key considerations before opting for a credit facility

  • Interest rates: Understand the rates and any potential fluctuations.
  • Repayment terms: Know the frequency and amount of repayments.
  • Fees and charges: Be aware of any additional costs associated with the facility.
  • Flexibility: Ensure the facility aligns with your business's financial needs.

In summary

A credit facility can be an indispensable tool for businesses, providing the necessary liquidity to seize growth opportunities, manage operational costs, and navigate any financial uncertainties.

With a myriad of options available, it's crucial for businesses to understand each facility's intricacies and choose one that aligns best with their unique requirements.

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