Asset-Based Lending: What it is and how it works?

Within the intricate world of company finance, asset-based lending (ABL) presents itself as a sensible option for businesses in need of operating cash but with strong assets.

What is Asset-Based Lending?

In asset-based lending, a company’s assets, such as inventory, accounts receivable, machinery, or real estate, are used as collateral to secure a loan. Because of this process, which lowers the lender’s risk, asset-based financing is more widely available than other small-business loan choices. It is important to remember, though, that if you default on the loan, the lender may seize and sell your possessions in order to recoup lost funds.

How Does Asset-Based Lending Work?

Term loans and credit lines are two common forms of asset-based lending for real estate that can be obtained from traditional and online asset based mortgage lenders. The kind and amount of collateral that is available, along with other requirements, determine the terms of the loan offer. A crucial indicator in this procedure is the loan-to-value ratio (LTV), which is determined by dividing the loan amount by the collateral’s value. Funding quantities and lending rates are significantly influenced by the collateral’s liquidity.


Consider a company that wants to borrow $100,000 and plans to use marketable securities as security. The maximum loan amount would be $102,000 if the asset based mortgage lender offers 85% of the shares’ value, which is estimated to be $120,000. On the other hand, if inventory is used as collateral, the loan amount could be reduced to just 50% of the value of the collateral.

Asset-Based Lending vs. Cash Flow Lending

Distinguishing asset-based lending from cash flow lending reveals fundamental disparities:

Asset-Based Lending:

  • Requires collateral.
  • Eligibility determined by collateral value.
  • Involves fewer financial covenants.

Cash Flow Lending:

  • Doesn’t necessarily require collateral.
  • Eligibility based on current and future finances and credit history.
  • Requires more financial covenants.

Pros and Cons of Asset-Based Lending


  • Simpler Qualification: Asset-based financing is available to borrowers with less than ideal credit history or fluctuating cash flow because it places a strong emphasis on collateral value.
  • Competitive Interest Rates: Lower interest rates result from lenders taking on less risk, which saves borrowers money.
  • Flexible Financing: Asset-based loans are adaptable and may be used for a number of things, such as investing in new ventures, covering running costs, and filling cash flow shortages. Generally speaking, lenders don’t place specific limitations on how funds can be used.


  • Limited Collateral Eligibility: Certain business assets might not be accepted as collateral by lenders; examples of these are equipment with a high depreciation rate, perishable inventory, and specialty goods.
  • Additional Fees: Although asset-based loans have lower interest rates, borrowers may also have to pay origination, audit, and due diligence fees, which raises the loan’s total cost.
  • Asset Risk: Should a loan default, the lender may seize and sell a company’s assets to cover the outstanding balance, putting the borrower at risk of losing important assets.

The Bottom Line

For companies looking for funding based on their valuable assets, asset-based lending appears to be a reasonable option. A comprehensive comprehension of its workings, together with a sharp awareness of the benefits and downsides that come with it, is necessary to make well-informed financial decisions that are customized to each company’s specific requirements. Asset-based lending is a flexible and easily obtainable instrument that helps organizations promote expansion and sustainability amongst the ever-changing array of financing options available to them.

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