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What Is Cross-Border Financing?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 03 September 2016
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Cross-border financing involves transactions that move across one or more international borders. This can require a delicate balance of legal agreements that comply with financial regulations and other concerns to make the transaction run smoothly. Some financial institutions specialize in cross-border financing and can offer a variety of services to clients with an interest in this option. It’s also a specialty at some legal firms that focus on working within the banking and financial sector and want to make sure their clients have access to a full range of legal counsel.

In a simple example of cross-border financing, a company based in one nation might decide to open a factory in another. It could get loans in that country because of favorable interest rates and other incentives, but repayments and processing are handled through the home office in a different country. More complex examples may involve three or more parties in multiple countries, like a shipper based in China using a letter of credit from a Swiss bank to buy goods in South Africa. The international scale of the transaction can make it more complex.

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Letters of credit, straight loans, and other types of financial products may be available on an international scale, along with collections, credit checks, and similar support services. Some complications with cross-border financing can include how, where, and when to deposit funds, and how to handle issues like currency conversion and exchange rates. Firms may have a choice between several currencies and can weigh their options in the hopes of getting a favorable exchange rate that lowers the cost of the transaction in the long term.

One advantage of international access to finance is the opportunity to get loans that might not otherwise be available. If a nation has a tight credit market, companies might turn to cross-border financing to purchase equipment and supplies so they can continue operating or growing. The inflow of cash may in turn stimulate the economy, freeing up the credit market and making it easier to get domestic loans. International loans can also be useful for companies preparing to do business overseas that don’t want to be tied to a domestic financial institution.

Laws surrounding financial activity can vary worldwide. Companies involved in cross-border financing may need to meet different requirements, depending on the specifics of the loan contract. Attorneys who are familiar with the relevant laws can help smooth the application process and ensure that loans are issued legally and in full compliance with any potential regulations.

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