Loan Stock: What It Is, How It Works, and Risks Explained


Loan stock, an equity security used as collateral for loans, presents potential risks for both the lender and the issuing company. This article delves into how loan stock works, its risks, implications for lenders, concerns for issuing businesses, and the usage of loan stock by dedicated businesses. It also explores the Federal Reserve’s involvement and potential risks with loan stock through its Primary Dealer Credit Facility.

What is loan stock and how it works

Loan stock represents shares of common or preferred stock utilized as collateral to secure a loan from another party. This loan, akin to a standard loan, accrues a fixed interest rate and can be either secured or unsecured. When employed as collateral, the lender sees the highest value in publicly traded and unrestricted shares, which are more liquid and easier to sell if the borrower defaults. The lender often retains physical control of these shares until the loan is repaid.

Risks associated with loan stock

Using stock as loan collateral comes with inherent risks. As the share price is subject to market fluctuations, its value is not guaranteed. A drop in stock value can render the collateral insufficient to cover the outstanding loan amount, potentially leading to losses for the lender. Furthermore, in extreme cases, where the stock value plummets or the company goes bankrupt, the loan might remain entirely uncovered.

Concerns for issuing businesses

The company that issued the stock used as collateral faces concerns if the borrower defaults. The financial institution holding the collateralized shares might acquire voting rights and partial ownership of the company. This unexpected ownership due to default can impact the business’s internal affairs and structure.

Loan stock businesses and LTV ratio

Dedicated loan stock businesses offer financing based on the value of securities, considering factors like implied volatility and creditworthiness. They determine the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio, akin to assessing a home’s value for a mortgage, based on the borrower’s portfolio, securing funds through the security holdings.

Federal Reserve’s involvement and risks

The Federal Reserve, particularly in critical financial situations, broadens the spectrum of eligible collateral, encompassing equities, through its Primary Dealer Credit Facility (PDCF). During economic crises, like the 2008 Financial Crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fed utilized the PDCF to address liquidity issues. However, this engagement potentially exposes the Fed to significant stock market risks and prompts concerns about direct ownership in publicly traded companies.

Weigh the risks and benefits

Here is a list of the benefits and drawbacks to consider.

  • Liquidity of publicly traded and unrestricted shares
  • Flexible financing options
  • Access to funds based on asset value
  • Risk of losing collateral value due to market fluctuations
  • Potential lender losses in case of borrower default
  • Uncovered loans in extreme scenarios

Frequently asked questions

What is the primary risk for lenders in loan stock transactions?

The primary risk is the fluctuation in the value of the collateral, which may fail to cover the outstanding loan.

How do loan stock businesses assess the value of securities for lending purposes?

Loan stock businesses evaluate the value using factors like implied volatility, creditworthiness, and a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio based on the borrower’s portfolio.

Key takeaways

  • Loan stock involves using shares as collateral for loans, posing risks for lenders and issuing companies.
  • Stock value fluctuations can render collateral insufficient, potentially causing lender losses.
  • Loan stock businesses offer financing based on asset value, creditworthiness, and LTV ratios.
  • The Federal Reserve’s involvement exposes potential risks in severe economic situations.
View article sources
  1. Bank Stock Loan – Bank of North Dakota
  2. Bank loan information and information asymmetry in the stock market: evidence from China – National Library of Medicine
  3. Stock Loan Fees: What They Are, How They Work, and Examples – SuperMoney
  4. Stock Purchase and Loan Agreement – U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission