If you are seeking to use business assets as the basis of a loan then a secured business loan may be just what you need.

With this type of business loan, if you are unable to repay the money to the lender they will use the sale of assets provided as security to cover their costs.

The amount you are able to borrow is dependent on the value of the assets that are provided as security within the loan and these assets can range from plant and machinery, vehicles, property, land and more.

In this article we’ll explore secured business loans, what type of collateral may be appropriate, and what the likely charges are for this type of finance.

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    How Do Secured Business Loans Work?

    The loan application process for a secured business loan is fairly standard. Prospective borrowers make an application, offering their basic requirements:

    • Loan Amount
    • Duration of Loan
    • Details of any Security Offered

    Lenders will then assess the level of risk, checking credit scores, the value of the asset, and the reliability of the borrower. If their requirements are met, they will make an offer.

    Criteria & Eligibility for a Business Loan?

    Turnover

    Of course all lenders have their own specifics, but the preliminary criteria all providers are going to need is a healthy level of monthly turnover.

    Lenders positively want to lend you money, since that’s how they run their own business, but they need a certain amount of confidence you’re going to be able to pay it back and that starts with turnover.

    Credit Score

    The credit score check is now a standard practice in the lending industries since it provides immediate data on the potential customers financial reliability.

    It’s important to realise lenders will investigate both the businesses’ and the individuals credit ratings as part of their analysis. Although there is a clear legal distinction between personal and corporate finance, banks wish to understand the risks before they lend and, should a personal credit score come into question, they will be more cautious.

    Collateral

    Aside from turnover and credit, the presence of a significant assets remains the biggest factor in your likelihood of getting the green light on a secured loan. If the business is too new or small to have its own, this is where directors may be asked to put personal assets on the line by signing a personal guarantee document.

    What Can Be Used as ‘Collateral’ for a Business Loan?

    Lenders will always prepare hard assets (cash, building and land etc) over soft (intellectual property) because they represent a greater security, in most cases.

    Common hard assets include:

    • Buildings
    • Land
    • Cash
    • Commercial machinery or equipment

    What are the Advantages of a Secured Business Loan?

    • If you have security to offer, you can borrow more
    • Secured loans offer better rates than the more risky unsecured version
    • If the loan is secured with a commercial asset, there is no need for directors to offer personal guarantees
    • With an asset, the lender need place less scrutiny on credit scores or turnover, although it will still examine them to some degree

    Disadvantages

    • Whatever security you offer could be at risk should you default on the loan
    • Secured loans Take longer to obtain than some forms of finance
    • This form of borrowing will not be available to you unless you have a suitable asset to stand as collateral

    Securing a Business Loan with a Personal Guarantee

    Where the business has no collateral of its own to offer, it is still possible to gain business finance via the use of a personal guarantee.

    These documents allow a member of the company (often a director) to offer a personal asset (often a house) as loan guarantee. While these can be a useful means of securing finance, they are also a risky thing to put one’s name to since, should the business become insolvent, it can place your family house on the line.

    We also recommend the use of personal guarantee insurance should your secured loan necessitate a personal guarantee.

    Are Business Loans Regulated in the UK?

    Where the loans are for limited companies, they are regulated by the FCA.

    Individuals and sole traders can borrow from unregulated lenders, however.

    Are Small Business Loans Secured or Unsecured?

    Most small business loans will require security, unless the borrower is prepared to offer a personal guarantee.

    Unsecured loans are available to small businesses and startups but the amounts offered will be small, and the terms fairly strict.

    There are also a variety of government backed start up loans although these are only available to businesses that have been trading for less than 24 months.

    Other options include bank referral scheme, whereby the banks refer certain businesses they’ve refused lending across to alternative finance providers such as Funding Options or Funding Xchange.

    Secured Business Loans That may be Eligible for the Enterprise Financial Guarantee (EFG)

    The Enterprise Financial Guarantee was set up by the government to make it easier for smaller businesses to take advantage of secured loans.

    With EFG loans the lender still uses a commercial lending facility but the government stands in as security, offering to cover 75%of the losses the lender might suffer in case of default.

    There is fairly strict criteria for acceptance which includes:

    • Appropriate business niche
    • Viability of business plan
    • Turnover below £41m
    • Seeking finance of between £1,000 and £1.2 million

    As of June 2018, more than 30,000 EFG loans have funded over 3.2bn for British business.