Financial Guarantee

A legal commitment by financial institutions to ensure debt to be paid off

A financial guarantee is a legal commitment made by a bank, insurance firm, or other organization to ensure that another party-such as a company-will be paid for their debt obligations.

Financial Guarantee

It is essentially a warranty connected to a loan. A parent co-signing a loan for their child is an example of how individuals can also offer such guarantees.

The guarantor of the debt obligation is the person or organization that offers a monetary guarantee. These guarantees are used to lower or mitigate risk for the investor or lender who provides the borrowed funds.

An insurance firm's guarantee of repayment for bonds issued by a company for financing is a typical illustration of such a guarantee.

Even if the bond issuer fails to repay the bonds, the insurance firm guarantees that bond buyers will receive their main investment and any accrued interest.

  • When a borrower defaults, financial guarantees operate as insurance policies, ensuring that the loan will be paid.
  • Financial arrangements known as guarantees are those in which a guarantor commits to taking on financial liability if the debtor defaults.
  • Other guarantees include assets (e.g., security deposits) that may be sold if the debtor stops paying for whatever reason.
  • Banks and insurance companies may provide guarantees.
  • It can boost the borrower's credit score and give them access to better interest rates.


Before they may be put into effect, some financial agreements require a financial guarantee. A guarantee is frequently a legally binding agreement that ensures the repayment of a loan to a lender.

This arrangement occurs when a guarantor consents to assume financial liability if the primary debtor misses a payment or becomes insolvent. The agreement shall be effective only upon the execution by the parties hereto.

A security deposit can be used as a guarantee. This type of collateral offered by the debtor may be liquidated if the debtor defaults. It is used in the banking and lending sectors.

As an illustration, a secured credit card necessitates that the borrower-typically someone with no credit history-place a cash deposit equal to the credit line amount.

They are crucial to the financial sector and function similarly to insurance. They enable some financial activities, particularly those that wouldn't otherwise happen, allowing high-risk borrowers to obtain loans and other types of credit, for example.

In other words, they reduce the risk involved with giving credit to high-risk borrowers and doing so during uncertain financial times.

Why does it matter?

Guarantees are crucial because they lower the cost of credit. Better credit ratings allow lenders to provide their borrowers with better interest rates. Investors also feel more at ease with them because they know their money and returns are secure.


A cash guarantee does not always fully discharge the obligation. For instance, a guarantor is only permitted to guarantee the return of the principal and/or interest.

This guarantee may occasionally include the participation of many businesses.

In these situations, each guarantor is often only accountable for a pro-rata share of the issue. In some situations, however, guarantors might be held accountable for the obligations of the other guarantors if they break them.

Although financial assurances typically reduce the risk of default, they are not foolproof. This was evident in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2007–2008.


A financial guarantee company, often known as a monoline insurer, provides default protection for most bonds. These companies were particularly hard-hit by the global financial crisis.

These companies had their credit ratings downgraded due to billions of dollars in newfound obligations to pay back mortgage-backed securities (MBSs) that went into default.

A guarantee adds extra security to a loan, increasing its appeal to potential lenders. In addition, since the presence of a guarantor increases the likelihood that a lender will be repaid, lenders are more inclined to offer guaranteed loans to applicants with bad credit histories.

A guaranteed loan is a realistic choice for borrowers with bad credit or no credit history. In this situation, the guarantor's assurance may enable borrowers to get loans they couldn't otherwise get.

The assurance could come from a person, business, or financial institution.

Although financial assurances reduce risk, it's crucial to remember that they do not make security risk-free. After all, if the liability is too great, or the guarantee already has financial difficulties for other reasons, it is still feasible that even the guarantor could default on the obligation. 


Whatever the case, guarantees add a degree of security, which explains why guaranteed securities frequently have higher credit ratings.

Financial guarantors often included information on the type and scope of their guarantees in the notes to their financial statements. However, it is significant to highlight that guarantees provided by parents to their subsidiaries need not be recorded as liabilities on the balance sheet.

For example, a parent might guarantee a subsidiary's debt to a third party, or a subsidiary might guarantee the parent's debt to a third party or other subsidiaries.

However, all financial assurances must be declared.

The guarantor must provide information on the guarantee's terms, background, potential triggers, maximum liability under guarantee, and any clauses that would allow the guarantor to recoup any funds disbursed.

Various forms

A financial guarantee may be requested or used in a variety of scenarios. Additionally, other sources of such guarantees include people, businesses, banks, insurance providers, and other organizations. Some of the most typical usage scenarios are listed below:


1. Individual financial guarantees

Individuals frequently issue financial assurances. By co-signing a loan agreement or rental agreement for one of their children who lacks an established credit history or has a low credit rating, parents with good, established credit can become debt guarantors.

2. Bond guarantees

Many corporate bonds come with a financial guarantee from an insurance firm that the bond's payments to investors will be made. In addition, the insurance provider may offer a whole or partial guarantee of the owed bond payments.

3. Corporate financial guarantees

A non-cancellable indemnity is a type of financial assurance used in business. A reputable financial institution, such as an insurer, supports this bond. It ensures that principal and interest payments will be made to investors.

These guarantees and related products are a specialty of many insurance companies utilized by debt issuers to draw in investors.

As previously mentioned, the guarantee reassures investors that their money will be returned if the securities issuer cannot meet its contractual commitment to make timely payments.

Outside insurance, which decreases the cost of financing for issuers, may also lead to a better credit rating.

A financial guarantee is also included in a letter of intent (LOI). This is an agreement that both parties will conduct business with one another. It outlines each party's financial responsibilities in detail but may not always be a legally binding contract.

In the shipping sector, LOIs are frequently used as an assurance from the recipient's bank that it will pay the shipping company once the items are received.


Public or private companies frequently give them to their subsidiary companies.

Typically, a parent company has greater financial resources than its subsidiary. As a result, if the subsidiary requests a sizable loan, the lender can ask the parent firm to serve as a loan guarantee.

The lender may demand that the parent firm sign a contract promising to pay back the debt if necessary, or it may demand that the parent company put up assets as collateral for the loan.

Suppose a company participating in a joint venture is financially significantly larger and more stable than its joint venture partner. In that case, it may also serve as a guarantor of a debt obligation.

4. Bank financial guarantees

For their customers, banks usually offer a wide range of financial assurances. For example, a bank acting as a guarantor for payments to be made by a buyer to a seller is one of the most frequently used forms of bank guarantees.


This kind of guarantee is frequently used when there are significant foreign transactions. The seller might need a bank guarantee of payment from the buyer because they may not know enough about them.

The buyer may then be required to deposit the required funds for the purchase at their bank.

In addition, a bank may offer what is known as a performance or warranty bond, which effectively ensures that the items given to a buyer are as promised and delivered in accordance with the terms of the seller's contract.

Banks may also offer an advance payment guarantee, a commitment to reimburse a customer for any payments made in advance for products if the vendor does not fulfill the order.

Financial guarantee vs. performance guarantee

In both financial and performance guarantees, a bank guarantees the client of one of its customers that, if the client demands payment from the bank (i.e., invokes the guarantee), the bank will do it right away.

The warranties in both situations are still in effect as of the predetermined date. After that date, no claim may be made under the agreement.

This guarantee merely ensures that the bank will reimburse the buyer if the seller does not deliver what was promised.


Financial assurance is when a bank guarantee is used as proposal security or earnest money deposit (the two are the same thing).

The guarantee essentially backs the security/debt amount. The bank usually only evaluates the customer's ability to pay when issuing such a guarantee; it is not required to evaluate the customer's ability to perform.

A performance guarantee is used to guarantee the tender authorities (the bank's customer's client(s)) that a deposit will be repaid in the event of a breach of contract by the insured party.

Before granting such a guarantee, the bank must determine whether the customer can begin the task within the allotted period. This assessment is distinct from a simple credit analysis.

Similar to a performance guarantee, a guarantee that must be submitted for the release of retention money (a portion of the payment that tender authorities typically retain, not relinquish, as security against non-performance of the work performed by a contractor) is a retention guarantee.

Prior to about 50 years ago, banks were hesitant to offer performance guarantees because they believed they could not judge the performance of their clients.

They charged a greater commission for issuing performance guarantees than they did for issuing financial guarantees.


The system of charging higher commissions for performance guarantees continues, even though the assessment is now considered relatively easy. This is because banks rarely spend more time/money on determining ability to perform than on determining creditworthiness.

A bank guarantee known as a bid bond is provided in place of an earnest money deposit (or proposal security).

An earnest money deposit assures the client that the contractor is serious when making the bid or tender, and a retention deposit ensures the required quality of work will be delivered.

For the contractor to begin work, tender authorities frequently want performance security or security deposits. These payments provide them peace of mind that the contractor won't abandon the project in the middle of it.

Guarantees must be provided to statutory entities in lieu of deposits, such as electricity boards for obtaining (HT) connections or to Customs and Excise employees during appeals. These are other types of such guarantees.

Venture Capital Course

Everything You Need To Break into Venture Capital

Sign Up to The Insider's Guide by Elite Venture Capitalists with Proven Track Records.

Learn More

Researched and authored by Ruxue Bai | LinkedIn

Reviewed and edited by James Fazeli-Sinaki | LinkedIn

Free Resources

To continue learning and advancing your career, check out these additional helpful WSO resources: