From day-to-day operations to unexpected expenses, businesses require a steady cash flow for various reasons. However, continuously issuing new loans is a lengthy process for every added expense. This is where credit facilities come into use.
Meaning of Credit Facilities
A credit facility is a loan that allows the borrower to access funds over an extended period.
They don’t have to reapply for a loan each time they need cash.
These facilities can take many forms, including loans, credit cards, letters of credit, and overdraft facilities.
Importance of Credit Facilities
Credit facilities are crucial for addressing financial demands for enterprises and managing their cash flow by:
- Giving borrowers a convenient and flexible way to access money
- Providing aid for unforeseen costs, crises, financing projects, investments, or business operations
- Aiding them in establishing their credit history and reputation
- Helping businesses achieve their financial objectives
How Credit Facilities Work
Credit facilities offer financing options for various purposes.
Companies often utilize credit facilities when they close a round of equity financing or sell shares of their stock to raise money.
Businesses must consider how to include debt in their capital structure while still adhering to the restrictions of their equity financing.
The collateral that can be sold or replaced as security for a credit facility is permitted without altering the conditions of the original contract.
The facility may be assigned to other projects or divisions within the firm at the company's discretion.
The loan's flexible payback schedule is determined by the company's credit standing and payment history.
The summary includes the facility's history, the reason for the loan, and the allocation of the money.
The facility may also include discussions of particulars like borrower obligations or collateral for secured loans.
Difference Between Credit Facility and Other Financing
Credit facilities are different from other forms of finance in the following ways:
- Credit facilities give borrowers access to a revolving line of credit. This allows them to borrow money up to a predetermined credit limit, pay back the money they borrowed, and then borrow again without submitting a new loan application.
It differs from other forms of funding like term loans, which require a single lump sum payment that needs to be repaid over a predetermined period.
Compared to other forms of finance, credit facilities often have more lenient repayment terms. Depending on their financial condition, borrowers may pay the entire sum or the bare minimum each month.
Credit facilities are more convenient for borrowers as they offer rapid and simple access to funds. They can use the cash for paying immediate bills or funding ongoing projects.
Types of Credit Facilities
Let’s break down some of the credit facilities available to borrowers.
1. Revolving Credit Facilities
This type of credit agreement gives borrowers access to a credit limit. They can use this credit to take loans, pay them back, and then take further additional loans as needed.
These facilities are frequently employed for short-term borrowing requirements like managing cash flow or funding working capital.
Interest rates on revolving credit facilities are often variable and might be secured or unsecured.
2. Term Loans
Term loans have a defined repayment schedule and often last one to ten years. Borrowers must make consistent payments over the loan term to repay the principal and interest.
The loan amount is often paid in one big sum.
Term loans are often utilized for long-term financial requirements, like funding significant projects or purchasing equipment.
3. Letters of Credit
It is a financial instrument that guarantees payment to a seller for goods or services delivered to a customer.
Banks give letters of credit, which promise payment to the seller if certain conditions are met.
Letters of credit are often employed in international trade finance to lower the risk of non-payment.
4. Asset-based Lending
Here, the borrower's assets - inventory, accounts receivable, or real estate - are used as collateral. The loan amount is often a proportion of the asset's market value.
Businesses with a substantial asset base that need more cash flow to secure standard finance use asset-based lending.
5. Mezzanine Financing
This form of credit is utilized for growth or expansion capital. A blend of equity and debt financing, mezzanine financing provides the lender with a share of the borrower's company in exchange for interest payments.
Companies with outgrown debt funding options but are not yet ready for traditional equity financing sometimes turn to mezzanine finance.
Advantages of Credit Facilities
- Gives access to convenient and flexible funding
- Allows meeting financial needs and cash flow management
- Allows borrowers to take out the money when needed
- Helps establish credit history and reputation
- Can be secured or unsecured
- More practical than submitting a new loan application each time
- More lenient payback terms than alternative lending options
- Can be utilized for funding projects or paying unplanned bills
Disadvantages of Credit Facilities
- Typically include additional maintenance and withdrawal costs
- Could be challenging for younger or riskier businesses to obtain financial facilities
- Laborious and time-consuming process
- Requires more administrative effort for loan agreements
When a credit facility is useful:
Alfred Pvt. Ltd., a small business, wants to purchase a vast order of merchandise for the upcoming Christmas season. However, it needs more funds to pay for the inventory upfront but is confident it can sell things swiftly and profitably.
Alfred Pvt Ltd. applied for a credit facility to pay for the inventory purchase.
It can now buy the inventory using inventory financing to satisfy consumer demand utilizing credit without using up all its cash.
When a credit facility is not useful:
Aldrin Pvt Ltd. had racked up a sizable credit card debt and needed help to make monthly payments. So, it considered applying for a new credit facility, such as a personal loan or another credit card, to consolidate its debt.
However, Aldrin Pvt Ltd. kept using credit cards and other forms of borrowing, which added to the existing debt. This led the company to further financial trouble.
How to Get Credit Facility
The following are general actions that organizations should take when applying for a credit facility:
- Determine the type of credit facility needed to manage operations
- Review credit reports and credit scores to ensure organization is financially stable
- Research lenders to get the best possible terms
- Gather documentation that is necessary to secure the credit facility
- Apply for it either online or in person
Tips to Improve Credit Facility Approval
1. Maintain a good credit score:
Lenders evaluate credit scores to determine a borrower's creditworthiness. A higher credit score might result in better interest rates, terms and increased approval possibilities.
2. Pay bills on time:
Making timely payments shows that a borrower is responsible with credit and has good debt management skills.
3. Keep credit utilization low:
Lenders may be reluctant to issue additional credit if there is high credit utilization, which is the ratio of credit utilized to available credit.
4. Check credit reports for accuracy:
Regularly check credit reports for mistakes or inaccuracies that can harm credit scores. Correct any inaccuracies as soon as it comes under notice.
5. Reduce debt-to-income ratio:
Debt reduction can boost creditworthiness and raise the likelihood that a loan facility will be approved.
6. Limit new credit applications:
Multiple credit applications made in a short period can harm credit ratings and make lenders reluctant to grant new loans. Only submit necessary credit applications.
For enterprises, credit facilities are important. In contrast to bank loans, one of the key benefits of credit facilities is that there are no limitations on how the money is allocated.
It gives greater flexibility because businesses can utilize them anytime a need arises.
They also benefit firms because they typically have lower interest rates than credit cards.