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Personal Guarantee on Your Small Business

Aug 17, 2007
A personal guarantee is when an individual agrees to be held responsible for assuming the debts of another person or business in the case of the borrower failing to pay back monies borrowed or defaulting on a loan or mortgage. This provides back up protection to the bank or other lending institution and gives them another avenue to pursue if the original borrower fails to live up to their obligations.

Many personal and business lenders ask for a personal guarantee when it is the initial application for a loan or mortgage or when they have some doubts about the borrowers' ability to repay the loan. It is very common for example for a bank to request a personal guarantee from a parent or guardian when a young person borrows for their first car and it also fairly common practice when it comes to the first business loan or credit request from a small business.

These types of loans are seen as a higher risk by the banks and therefore they want some added assurance that they will get their money back if the kid smashes up the car or the small business goes under. Neither would be an extremely unusual event and the banks have learned very well how to protect their interests along with collecting their interest rates.

In the case of business loans and lines of credit, the individual owner or operator is often asked by the bank or lending institution to put up their own personal guarantee to secure the required funds. That might mean assigning a portion of their property or assets over to the bank or it may come in the form of an actual cash guarantee. It doesn't have to come from the individual however and a personal guarantee can be provided by a family member, a friend, or another business person in the community.

While it may seem a little unfair to the borrower to be asked by the lending institution to provide a personal guarantee it actually allows both sides to get what they want. The small business operator gets the funds they need to stay in business or make necessary improvements while the bank gets assurance that it will get its money back. It is simply another way of doing business.

A personal guarantee is a sign to the lending institution that a small business owner is ready to back his or her business with their own money or that they have such standing in the community that someone else will provide that assurance and guarantee on their behalf. A personal guarantee only really comes into play if the borrower cannot pay the money they borrowed back and in that case the business must be either poorly managed or ultimately unprofitable. The best way to avoid that scenario is for the small business owner to ensure that their business is a success. Then the business owner, the guarantor, and the bank will all be happy.
About the Author
David Gass is President of Business Credit Services, Inc. His company publishes afree weekly e-newsletter on Small Business Consulting at their web site http://www.smallbusinessconsulting.com
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