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The availability and cost of credit and the efficiency of the market for secured credit are directly influenced by the laws affecting secured transactions and their implementation. Whether it be a farmer who needs to borrow money to buy a tractor, an enterprise which needs credit from its supplier or the promoters of a power plant who need to finance a major new project, the inability to obtain valuable and viable security over the debtor's assets is likely to discourage potential providers of credit. The secured transactions project was established in 1992. It encourages countries to modernise their collateral laws and offers assistance at all stages of the reform process.
In 1992 most countries in which the Bank operates either did not have any rules on secured transactions at all or had outdated or inadequate rules which did not afford to creditors the economic benefits that they would expect from security. This meant that it was often impractical or impossible for a lender to increase the chances of debt repayment by taking security over the borrower’s assets.
Why reform is needed
The primary objective of reform of secured transactions laws is economic. A lender or creditor will take a mortgage or a pledge in order to reduce the risk of losing the money that he is owed. If the law or the way in which it is applied do not give creditors confidence that they can recover real value from mortgaged or pledged assets it will have little economic effect. On the other hand security which effectively reduces the risk of giving credit can increase the availability of credit and improve the terms on which it is available. A lender who knows that he has legally recognised rights to turn to his debtor's assets in case of non-payment will assess the credit risk quite differently. The availability of such recourse may influence his decision whether to give credit or not. It may also change the terms on which he is prepared to lend, typically by increasing the amount of the loan, by extending the period for which the loan is granted and by lowering the interest rate.
What the EBRD does
Based on this economic objective the Bank encourages countries to modernise their collateral laws and offers assistance at all stages of the reform process. The projects on which the Bank is working aim at identifying what legal reform is needed to achieve an effective legal framework for secured transactions, building a consensus for those reforms and then assisting in the preparation of necessary legislation and the implementation of the law.
EBRD conference on secured lending - In November 2013 the Bank hosted a conference on secured lending, which featured many leading experts on the subject and provided an opportunity to share best practice and facilitate legal reform.
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