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Bank Guarantee : Uses, Eligibility & Process, Advantages

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08 min read

A guarantee means giving something as security. A bank guarantee is when a bank offers surety and guarantees for different business obligation on behalf of their customers within certain regulations. The lending institutions provide a bank guarantee which acts as a promises to cover the loss of the customer if he/she defaults on a loan. It is an assurance to a beneficiary that the financial institution will uphold the contract between the customer and third party if the customer is unable to do so.

Meaning of Bank Guarantee

Bank Guarantee a promise made by the bank to any third person to undertake the payment risk on behalf of its customers. Bank guarantee is given on a contractual obligation between the bank and its customers. Such guarantees are widely used in business and personal transactions to protect the third party from financial losses. This guarantee helps a company to purchase things that it ordinarily could not, thus helping business grow and promoting entrepreneurial activity.

For Example- Xyz company is a newly established textile factory that wants to purchase Rs.1 crore fabric raw materials. The raw material vendor requires Xyz company to provide a bank guarantee to cover payments before they ship the raw material to Xyz company. Xyz company requests and obtains a guarantee from the lending institution keeping its cash accounts. The bank essentially cosigns the purchase contract with the vendor. If Xyz company defaults in payment, the vendor can recover it from the bank.

Similarly, a large manufacturer of furniture wishes to enter into a contract with a small woodshop vendor. The large manufacturer will require the small vendor to provide a bank guarantee before entering into a contract for Rs.50 lakh worth of wood material. In this case, the large manufacturer is the beneficiary who requires a guarantee before entering into a contract. If the small vendor is unable to deliver the wood material, the large manufacturer of furniture can claim the losses from the bank.

Sample Bank Guarantee for reference: https://www.nlcindia.com/tenders/format_bgp.pdf

Uses of Bank Guarantee

  • When large companies purchases from small vendors, they generally require the vendors to provide guarantee certificate from banks before providing such business opportunities.
  • Predominantly used in the purchase and sale of goods on credit basis, where the seller is assured of payment from the bank in case of default by the buyer.
  • Helps in certifying the credibility of individuals, which in turn, enables them in obtaining loans and also assists in business activities.

Though there are lots of uses from a bank guarantee for the applicant, the bank should process the same only after ensuring the financial stability of the applicant/business. The risk involved in providing such a guarantee must be analysed thoroughly by the bank.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Bank Guarantees

Bank guarantee has its own advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are:

  • Bank guarantee reduces the financial risk involved in the business transaction.
  • Due to low risk, it encourages the seller/beneficiaries to expand their business on a credit basis.
  • Banks generally charge low fees for guarantees, which is beneficial to even small-scale business.
  • When banks analyse and certify the financial stability of the business, its credibility increases and this, in turn, increase business opportunities.
  • Mostly, the guarantee requires fewer documents and is processed quickly by the banks (if all the documents are submitted).

On the flip side, there are some disadvantages such as:

  • Sometimes, the banks are so rigid in assessing the financial position of the business. This makes the process complicated and time-consuming.
  • With the strict assessment of banks, it is very difficult to obtain a bank guarantee by loss-making entities.
  • For certain guarantees involving high-value or high-risk transactions, banks will require collateral security to process the guarantee.

Types of Bank Guarantee

There are two major types of bank guarantee used in businesses, which are as follows:

Financial Guarantee

These guarantees are generally issued in lieu of security deposits. Some contracts may require a financial commitment from the buyer such as a security deposit. In such cases, instead of depositing the money, the buyer can provide the seller with a financial bank guarantee using which the seller can be compensated in case of any loss.

Performance Guarantee

These guarantees are issued for the performance of a contract or an obligation. In case, there is a default in the performance, non-performance or short performance of a contract, the beneficiary’s loss will be made good by the bank.

For example, A enters into a contract with B for completion of a certain project and the contract is supported by a bank guarantee. If A does not complete the project on time and does not compensate B for the loss, B can claim the loss from the bank with the bank guarantee provided.

Bank Guarantee (BG) Eligibility and Process

Any person who has a good financial record is eligible to apply for BG. BG can be applied by a business in his bank or any other bank offering such services. Before approving the BG, the bank will analyse the previous banking history, creditworthiness, liquidity, CRISIL, and CIBIL rating of the applicant.

The bank would also examine the BG period, value, beneficiary details, and currency as required for the approval. In certain cases, banks will require security to be provided by the applicant to cover the BG value. Once the banking officials are satisfied with all the criteria, they will provide the necessary approvals required for the BG processing.

Bank Guarantee Charges

Generally, BG charges are based on the risk assumed by the bank in each transaction. For example, a financial BG is considered to assume more risk than a performance BG. Hence, the fee for financial BG will be higher than the fee charged for performance BG. Based on the type of the BG, fees are generally charged on a quarterly basis on the BG value of 0.75% or 0.50% during the BG validity period.

Apart from this, the bank may also charge the application processing fee, documentation fee, and handling fee. In some cases, security is required by the bank from its applicant, which is generally 100% of the BG value. In certain cases, collateral security or cash margin may also be accepted by the issuing bank.

Difference between BG & Letter of Credit (LOC)

LOC is a financial document which imposes an obligation on the bank to make payment to the beneficiary on completion of certain services as required by the applicant. LOC is issued by the bank when the buyer requests his bank to make payment to the seller on the receipt of certain goods or services. That is, when the buyer runs into cash flow difficulties or similar situations and thus cannot make immediate payment to the seller, he will approach his bank to make the payment to the seller on submission of certain documents.

The bank will later recover the amount paid from the buyer along with the required charges. On the other hand, under BG, the bank is required to make payment to the third-party only if the applicant fails to make the payment to the third-party or does not fulfil the required obligations under the contract.

A BG is essentially used to ensure a seller from loss or damage due to the non-performance by the other party in a contract. LOC is generally misunderstood as BG since they share some common characteristics. They both play a significant role in trade financing when the parties to the transactions don’t have established the business relationships. However, there are a lot of differences between LOC and BG.

Major differences between Letter of Credit (LOC) and Bank Guarantee (BG) are as follows:

ParticularsLOCBG
NatureLOC is an obligation accepted by a bank to make payment to a beneficiary if certain services are performed.BG is an assurance given by the bank to the beneficiary to make the specified payment in case of default by the applicant.
Primary liabilityBank retains the primary liability to make the payment and later collects the same from the customer.The bank assumes to make the payment only when the customer defaults to make payment.
PaymentBank makes the payment to the beneficiary as and when it is due. It need not wait for a default to be made by the customer.Only when the customer defaults the payment to the beneficiary, the bank makes the payment.
Way of workingLOC ensures that the amount will be paid as long as the services are performed as per the agreed terms.BG assures to compensate for the loss if the applicant does not satisfy the specified conditions.
Number of parties involvedThere are multiple parties involved here – LOC Issuing bank, its customer, the beneficiary (third party), and advising bank.There are only three parties involved – banker, its customer, and the beneficiary (third party).
SuitabilityGenerally, this is more appropriate during the import and export of goods and services.Suits any business or personal transactions.
RiskBank assumes more risk than the customer.Customer assumes the primary risk.
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