Assets that a lender accepts as security for a loan.

Assets that a lender accepts as security for a loan are referred to as collateral.


In general, borrowers look for credit to buy goods. For a person, this can mean a house or a car, while for a corporation, it might mean manufacturing equipment, commercial real estate, or even something intangible like intellectual property.

Depending on the loan's purpose, collateral may be in the form of real estate or other assets. For the lender, the collateral serves as insurance. 

That is, if the borrower falls behind on their loan payments a couple of times till the loan defaults, the lender may sell them, usually in an auction, to collect part or all of its losses.

If a loan exposure is supported by security, it is referred to as a secured credit; otherwise, it is referred to as an unsecured exposure.

Having accessible security will increase the safety of a good borrowing request, but it is not a replacement for other risk management and loan underwriting best practices.

How does Collateral Work?

When a lender records a charge over an asset, either a fixed or variable charge, it becomes collateral security. These fees are also referred to as liens.

As previously mentioned, a lender wants to know that the borrower has the means to repay a loan before giving them one. And that is why they use collateral as the name for this security, lowering the risk for lenders. 

It aids in ensuring that the borrower fulfills their financial commitment. If the borrower does default, the lender has the right to seize the thing kept as security and sell it, using the money to repay the unpaid part of the loan taken.


Many different types of collateral are available. The security for a loan is typically related to the kind of loan; for example, the home is used as security for a mortgage loan, while the automobile is used for a car loan. 

Other assets may be used for other personal, non-specific loans. As an illustration, a secured credit card may be backed by a cash deposit equal to the credit limit.

General Security Agreement (GSA) is used to record a floating fee (security interest or lien over a collection of variable assets, both in terms of number and value). Sole proprietors are subject to standard security agreements and are eligible to register if they own collateral property.

A GSA protects all of a borrower's assets that aren't explicitly included in a security registration (like our property or vehicle examples). GSAs let lenders utilize inventories and other hard-to-identify assets as security to help limit credit exposure.

Charges are submitted to an open register. Stakeholders may view and understand who has claimed particular assets through the public register and the chronological sequence in which those claims were made.

Charges that are recorded later (or "behind" them) typically have "less priority" than those that are registered initially. "Higher priority" charges are frequently described as "higher ranked" statements or as being more "senior" than claims that come after them.

Types of Collateral

Different Types of Collateral

The criteria will vary across various lenders. You will experience a variety of pros and cons depending on the type you choose to put up. So depending on your particular circumstances, this is subject to change. Some of the different types are:

1. Real Estate 

Real estate is frequently used to obtain big loans for leveraging a project or any other big investment.

Lenders usually prefer real estate since it holds its value over time. The value of the real estate is also frequently in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, which gives the borrower a chance to get extra money, as in a bigger loan. 

While there are benefits to utilizing real estate as security, there is also a high risk involved. The borrower of the loan can lose their house/ real estate, for instance, if the borrower defaults on the payment.

Real estate

 2. Residential Mortgages 

Residential mortgages are a little different than the typical usage of real estate as security for a personal or business loan. A mortgage is a loan specifically given to the debtor to buy a property that will then be served as a security for the creditor. 

The loan servicer may start legal processes if the homeowner stops making mortgage payments for at least 120 days.

These actions may result in the lender finally seizing property ownership through foreclosure. The property can be sold to pay off the outstanding loan principal once it has been transferred to the lender.


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3. Margin Trading

When an investor uses the balance in their brokerage account as security when borrowing money from a broker to purchase shares is called Margin Trading. The investor's ability to purchase more shares through the loan multiplies the potential gains if the value of the shares rises. 

We calculate it by taking the difference between the total investment amount or value and the loan amount.

However, the hazards have also increased. The broker wants payment of the difference if the share price drops. In that instance, if the borrower cannot cover the loss, the account acts as security.

4. Inventory Collateral

Product-based enterprises, such as retail stores or online retailers, may be able to utilize their inventory as security to get finance. Since inventory might be challenging to sell, some lenders could be reluctant to accept it as security.

Additionally, using inventories might hurt your earnings. Your ability to make a profit might be jeopardized if you fall behind on payments and lose access to your inventory. Due to this, you could get into difficulties with other creditors, and your company might even file for bankruptcy.

5. Asset bought on a loan

Like a residential mortgage, buying something in debt, such as a vehicle, can serve as security for the creditor until the payment is fully returned. 

MAST Framework

Marketable, Ascertainable, Stable, and Transferable is referred to as MAST. It is a helpful tool to aid in conceptualizing the overall attractiveness of the security.

Marketable: An active secondary market for the asset is implied if the asset is marketable. Excellent examples are equities and bonds, which are traded on international marketplaces. On the other hand, because it only appeals to a specific audience, fine art is slightly less marketable.

MAST framework

Ascertainability: It is the ease with which a price or market value may be quoted or quantified; this is sometimes done with the help of an appraiser like commercial real estate. However, stocks and bonds are also very ascertainable because they trade in real-time on open markets.

Stability: One important factor determining an asset's value is its stability. While stocks, in particular, might be unstable, marketable assets can have an active secondary market, and their values are marked-to-market, so the real value of the security may be fairly variable. 

Consistency: On the other hand, commercial real estate is usually considerably more consistent day-to-day.

Transfer: Nevertheless, can you easily transfer the asset? The expenses involved in transferring this security might be quite significant. For example, a forestry firm could want to pledge goods as security, but much of that inventory may be situated in a distant area that is hard for third parties to access. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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Researched and authored by Chadi Kattoua | LinkedIn

Reviewed and edited by Ankit SinhaLinkedIn

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