What is a Multi-currency Note Facility

A multi-currency note facility is credit facility which provides short- and medium-term Euro note loans to borrowers. Loans may have various structures and include denomination in many different national currencies. These facilities may also provide payment services for companies who work within multiple currencies.

A multi-currency loan is also sometimes called a dual currency issue.

BREAKING DOWN Multi-currency Note Facility

The multi-currency credit facility finances short- to medium-term euro notes. Banks hold funds in the currency of various nations, known as euro-currency, which they utilize for lending outside of the country of issue. Euro-currency transactions do not have to involve European countries. Any currency deposited into a euro bank is a euro-currency, like the South Korean won deposited at a bank in Norway.

A multi-currency note facility can provide service for a multi-currency loan, which lets a borrower receive the loan funds in more than one currency or in several currencies. Multi-currency loans can help corporations who operate in more than one nation or those who operate in nations with limitations on currency availability. These notes allow a parent company to fund the operations of connected businesses in diverse locations through one umbrella financial product. Examples of use include the purchase of real estate, the endorsement of promissory notes, and the funding of bills of exchange.

The loans from these facilities usually reprice about every six months, so the borrower has to accept the terms of the current market foreign currency rate. As an example, a euro medium-term note (EMTN) is a flexible debt instrument which requires fixed payments and has a maturity of less than five-years. EMTNs allow an issuer to enter foreign markets more easily to obtain capital. The terms of the agreement will detail the lender requirements for the type of repayment currency and the rate. 

The borrower is able to choose the currency they wish to use in each rollover refinancing period. The rollover refinancing of the loan moves the delivery date for the currency to a later date and usually incurs a fee from the difference in the interest rates between the two currencies.

A multi-currency note facility functions in a similar manner to a note issuance facility (NIF).  The NIF will generally accept the notes from the borrowers and resell them in the euro-currency markets. 

Borrower Risk Associated with Multi-Currency Notes

The most significant barrier of a multi-currency note facility is that producing multiple currencies for a loan carries a considerable amount of risk for the borrowers. The borrower assumes all the foreign-exchange risk in the transaction while the lender decides which currency they will receive repayment in, and typically at a predetermined exchange rate. Foreign-exchange risk comes from unexpected and unforeseeable changes in the interest rates between the two, or the several, currencies. However, breaking the loan into the specific currencies of each country can help reduce some associated fees.

Although the term multi-currency note facility might conjure up the image of actual, physical bank notes, most operate through online, digital transactions and don’t produce in-person notes anymore.