collateral


Written By: Ehsan Jahandarpour

In lending agreements, collateral is a borrower’s pledge of specific property to a lender, to secure repayment of a loan. The collateral serves as protection for a lender against a borrower’s default—that is, it can be used to offset the loan to any borrower failing to pay the principal and interest under the terms of a loan obligation. If a borrower does default on a loan (due to insolvency or other event), that borrower forfeits (gives up) the property pledged as collateral, with the lender then becoming the owner of the property. In a typical mortgage loan transaction, for instance, the real estate being acquired with the help of the loan serves as collateral. Should the buyer fail to pay the loan under the mortgage loan agreement, the ownership of the real estate is transferred to the bank. The bank uses the legal process of foreclosure to obtain real estate from a borrower who defaults on a mortgage loan obligation. A pawnbroker is an easy and common example of a business that may accept a wide range of items as collateral rather than accepting only cash.