Standby Letter of Credit - SLOC

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DEFINITION

A guarantee of payment issued by a bank on behalf of a client that is used as "payment of last resort" should the client fail to fulfill a contractual commitment with a third party. Standby letters of credit are created as a sign of good faith in business transactions, and are proof of a buyer's credit quality and repayment abilities. The bank issuing the SLOC will perform brief underwriting duties to ensure the credit quality of the party seeking the letter of credit, then send notification to the bank of the party requesting the letter of credit (typically a seller or creditor).

Also known as a "non-performing letter of credit".

INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS

A standby letter of credit will typically be in force for about one year, allowing for enough time for payment to be made through standard contractual guidelines.

Standby letters of credit are often used in international trade transactions, such as the purchase of goods from another country. The seller will ask for a standby letter of credit, which can be cashed on demand if the buyer fails to make payment by the date specified in the contract. The cost to obtain a standby letter of credit is typically 1-8% of the face amount annually, but the letter can be canceled as soon as the terms of the contract have been met by the purchaser or borrower.


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