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Cash Lending based on Flow

Asset-Based Lending

Key Differentialities

Business Credit Underwriting

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The Bottom Line

Corporate Finance Corporate Finance Fundamentals

Cash Flow vs. ABL What’s the difference?

By James Garrett Baldwin

Updated October 08, 2022.

Read by Amy Drury

Cash Flow and. Business Lending based on Assets A Comprehensive Overview

If a business is a startup or a 200-year-old conglomerate like E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (DD) that relies on borrowing capital to function in the same way as an automobile runs on gasoline. Businesses have a lot choices over individuals in borrowing which can make business borrowing somewhat more complex than personal borrowing options.

Companies may choose to borrow money from a bank or another institution to finance their operations, purchase another business, or take part in a major acquisition. In order to accomplish these goals, it may be possible to look at a variety of options and lenders. In general, business loans like personal loans, can be made either secured or unsecured. Financial institutions are able to provide a range of lending provisions in these two broad categories to accommodate the needs of each borrower. Unsecured loans are not backed by collateral, while secured loans are.

Within the secured loan category, businesses may look at asset-based or cash flow loans as a potential alternative. Here we will look at the definitions and distinctions of the two along with some scenarios on when one is more preferred to the other.

The most important takeaways

Both asset-based and cash flow-based loans are generally secured.

Cash flow-based loans consider a company’s cash flows in the underwriting of the loan terms , while asset-based loans consider balance sheet assets.

Cash flow loans are a good option for businesses that do not have assets, such as many service companies or for companies with higher margins.

Asset-based loans tend to be more beneficial for firms with strong balance sheets , but who may have lower margins or unpredictable cash flow.

Cash flow-based and asset-based loans are good choices for companies looking to effectively manage credit costs since they are typically secured loans which usually come with more favorable credit terms.

Cash Credit

Cash flow-based lending allows businesses to take out loans in accordance with the anticipated future cash flows of the business. In cash flow lending, an institution provides an loan which is secured by the beneficiary’s past and future cash flows. According to the definition, this means a company borrows funds from revenues that they expect to receive in the future. Credit ratings are also used in this form of lending as an important criterion.

For example, a company trying to pay its payroll obligations may use cash flow financing to pay employees right now and then pay back the loan and any interest on the revenues and profits earned by employees at an undetermined date. These loans do not require any form of collateral physical like property or assets but some or all of the cash flows that are used during the underwriting process are usually secured.

To guarantee cash flow loans, lenders examine expected future company incomes, its credit rating, and the value of its business. The advantage of this method is that the company could be able to obtain financing faster because appraisement of collateral is not needed. The majority of institutions underwrite cash flow loans using EBITDA (a company’s profits before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) together with an increase in credit.

This method of financing allows the lenders to take into account any risk brought on by sector and economic cycles. In the event of a downturn in the economy there are many businesses that will experience an increase in their EBITDA and the risk multiplier utilized by banks will also fall. This combination of declines can affect the credit available to an organisation or raise rates of interest if provisions are made to be based upon these parameters.

The cash flow loans are best suited for businesses that have high margins or do not have enough tangible assets to provide as collateral. Companies that meet these qualities include service providers or marketing firms as well as producers of low-cost products. Interest rates for these loans generally are higher than other loans due to the lack of physical collateral that can be obtained through the loan provider in the case in default.

Both cash flow based and asset-based loans are usually secured by the promise of cash flow or asset collateral in the loan bank.

Asset-Based Lending

Asset-based lending permits companies to take out loans based on the liquidation value of the assets they have on the balance sheet. A recipient receives this form of financing by providing inventory, accounts receivable and/or other assets on the balance sheet as collateral. Although cash flow (particularly ones that are tied to physical assets) are considered when making this loan but they are not considered in determining the amount.

Common assets that are provided as collateral for an asset-based loan include physical assets like real estate, land, property as well as company inventory, equipment, machinery vehicles, and physical commodities. Receivables are also included as an asset-based lending. Overall, if a borrower fails to repay the loan or defaults, the lending bank holds a lien on the collateral and may be granted approval to levy and sell the collateral in order to recover the defaulted loan values.

Asset-based loans are better suited for organizations that have large balance sheets, and have lower EBITDA margins. It is also a good option for companies that require capital to run and expand, particularly in industries which may not have a an abundance of cash flow. An asset-based loan can give a company the necessary capital to overcome its slow growth.

As with all secured loans, loan to value is a factor when it comes to credit based on assets. A company’s credit score and credit score will affect how much loan to value ratio they will receive. In general, credit-worthy companies can borrow anywhere from 75% to 90 percent of the amount of the collateral they hold. Businesses with less credit quality may only be able to obtain 50 to 75% of the face value.

Asset-based loans typically adhere to a strict set of regulations about how collateral is treated of the physical assets that are used to obtain a loan. Most importantly it is not possible for a company to provide these assets as a type of collateral to lenders. In certain cases, second loans on collateral can be illegal.

Before approving an asset-based loan, lenders can require a relatively lengthy due diligence process. This may include the inspection of tax, accounting, and legal matters, in addition to the review of financial statements and asset appraisals. Overall, the underwriting on the loan will influence the approval of the loan as well as the rates of interest charged and allowable principal offered.

Receivables lending is one illustration of an asset-based loan which many businesses utilize. In receivables lending, companies is able to borrow funds against their receivables accounts to bridge a gap between revenue bookkeeping and the cash receipt. Receivables-based lending is typically a type of asset-based loan because receivables are usually secured with collateral.

Some companies prefer to keep the ownership of their assets, as opposed to selling them for capital; for this reason, companies are willing to pay a fee for interest to take loans on these properties.

Key differences

There are ultimately several primary distinctions between these types of lending. Financial institutions that are more concerned with cash flow loans are focused on the future prospects of their clients, whereas institutions that issue asset-based loans take a historical view by prioritizing the current balance sheet over the future income statements.

Cash flow-based loans don’t use collateral; assets-based lending is the foundation for having assets to post in order to limit risk. This is why companies may find it harder to get cash flow-based loans since they need to make sure that working capital is allocated for the loan. Certain companies won’t have the enough margin to make this happen.

The last thing to note is that each type of loan utilizes different metrics to determine if it is qualified. For example, cash flows loans are more interested in EBITDA that strip away the accounting impact on income and concentrate on net cash availability. Alternatively the asset-based loans are not as concerned with income; institutions will still monitor liquidity and solvency however they have less restrictions on operations.

Asset-Based Lending as opposed to. Cash Flow Based Lending

Asset-Based Lending

Based on the historical activities of how a business has previously made money

Use assets as collateral

Could be more accessible since there are typically fewer operating covenants

Tracked using liquidity and solvency but not so focused on future operations

Cash Flow-Based Lending

Based on the prospective of the future of a company that earns money

Make use of future operating cash flow to serve as collateral

Might be more difficult achieve operating requirements

Utilizing profitability metrics to eliminate the impact of non-cash accounting on

Optional Business Loans and underwriting

Businesses have a wider selection of borrowing options than people. With the increasing popularity of online finance the new types of loans and loan options are being created to help provide new products to access capital for all types of businesses.

In general, underwriting for any kind of loan is heavily contingent on the borrower’s credit score as well as credit quality. While a borrower’s credit score is typically a primary aspect in lending approval, each lender in the market has its own set of underwriting standards to assess the credit quality of borrowers.

Completely, unsecured loans of any kind could be more difficult to obtain and usually have greater interest rates relative to the amount due to the risks of default. Secured loans supported by any kind of collateral could lower the risk of default by the underwriter and thus, potentially result in better loan conditions for the borrower. Asset-based and cash flow-based loans are two potential types of secured loans businesses can look into when determining the best available loan terms to lower the cost of credit.

Are Asset-Based Lending better than Cash Lending that is based on flow?

A particular type of financing isn’t always better than the other. One is better suited for large companies that have the ability to post collateral or operate with very low margins. The other may be better to be used by companies that do not possess assets (i.e. large service firms) but are confident in future cash flow.

Why Do Lenders Look at the Cash Flow?

Creditors are interested in future cash flows because it is among the most reliable indicators of liquidity and also being able to repay the loan. Forecasts of future cash flows can also be an indicator for risk. companies with higher cash flow are essentially more secure because they anticipate that they will are able to meet liabilities as they become due.

What are the different types of Asset-Based loans?

Businesses may frequently offer pledges or other types of collateral. This can include pending accounts receivables and inventory that is not sold manufacturing equipment, other long-term assets. These categories will be classified according to different levels of risk (i.e. receivables could be uncollectable, land assets may depreciate to a lesser extent).

The Bottom Line

In order to raise capital, businesses often have a variety of options. Two such options are cash flow or asset-based financing. Businesses with better balance sheets and higher assets in place may be more inclined to secure asset-based financing. However, businesses with better prospects and less collateral may be better suited to cash flow-based financing.


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