What is a Bank Guarantee?

What is a Bank Guarantee

A Bank Guarantee is where one Bank (the Issuing Bank) issues an indemnity to another Bank (the Beneficiary Bank) or directly to a Beneficiary, on behalf of its account holder. The Issuing Bank will expect its account holder to pledge ‘assets’ to the bank for its issue.

There are effectively two main types of Bank Guarantees, (1) A Direct Guarantee where the account holder instructs his bank to issue a Guarantee directly in favour of the Beneficiary, and (2) An Indirect Guarantee where a second bank is requested to issue a Guarantee in return for a counter-Guarantee. In this case the Issuing Bank will indemnify losses made by this second bank in the event of claim against the Guarantee.

A Bank Guarantee is considered a “Demand Guarantee” and as such is governed by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Uniform Rules for Demand Guarantees (URDG).

Bank Guarantee’s take many forms. See Types of Bank Guarantees.

Some Guarantees are written to guarantee rental payments, some are written to guarantee payments upon the meeting of certain conditions. Some are even issued to guarantee loans and credit lines. All of them are written for a specific purpose to a specific party.

Each Bank Guarantee will be worded for the purposes it is intended. Some may be ‘callable upon demand’ or some may only be ‘callable’ when the Beneficiary provides notice of satisfaction of a pre-determined condition.

Currently, under the new Uniform Rules for Demand Guarantees (URDG 758) an underlying contract should be provided that states clearly the purpose of the Bank Guarantee and forms part of the Guarantee, for example a Rent Agreement or Payment Obligation.