Commercial Lending & Business Finance Glossary of Terms

Commercial Lending & Business Finance Glossary of Terms

4506 Tax Form

The IRS 4506 tax form is used when individuals or businesses do not otherwise have copies of their tax returns and need to request copies from the IRS. Form 4506 can also be used to designate a third party to receive the tax return. This might be required if a person or entity wants their tax return sent to their accountant, probate executor, attorney or if a bank wants to see the filed copy of the return, as required for an SBA loan.

Accounts Payable

Accounts payable are business debts that must be paid off within a relatively short period of time, as opposed to long term debt such as mortgage loans and equipment loans. Accounts payable are short term or current liabilities (debts) as opposed to mortgage loans and equipment loans that are reported on the balance sheet as long term liabilities.

Accounts Receivable

Money owed by customers for goods or services that have been delivered or used, but not yet paid for. On a company's balance sheet, accounts receivables are recorded as current assets.

Accrued Assets

These are assets on the balance sheet, other than cash, fixed assets (such as real estate, machinery & equipment, inventory) and include such items as accounts receivable, goodwill, and prepaid expenses.

Accrued Liabilities

These are liabilities on the balance sheet such as accounts payables, interest and taxes that are owed but not yet paid or payable.


The amount of principal reduction (repayment) on a loan or debt. Amortization payments are generally regular payments (usually monthly), made to reduce the debt along with the interest payments over the term of the loan. The term Amortization is used in connection with the periodic expensing of the cost or value of an intangible asset such as patents, trademarks or copyrights similar to depreciation of a tangible assets well as prepaid expenses, such as subscription revenue whereby the amount prepaid is periodically included in income over the life of the subscription or prepaid expense.

Annual Interest Rate

Annual Interest Rate is sometimes described as the stated or simple interest rate on a loan, as opposed to the Annual Percentage Rate or APR. It may not reflect the true cost of the loan - See APR.

Annual Percentage Rate

The Annual Percentage Rate or APR is often referred to as the effective rate of interest since it will include the effects of the compounding of interest (see Compound Interest) and may include the cost of up-front fees. The APR generally reflects the true cost of the loan over its full term.

Asset Based Financing

Asset Based Financing can be either working capital or term loans secured by assets such as accounts receivable, real estate, equipment, inventory etc. Factoring is also a form of asset based financing.

Bridge Financing

A Bridge Loan is generally a short term loan that is used by business borrowers until a longer term loan can be arranged or a scheduled event occurs which provides the funds to repay the loan. Bridge loans may be used to, among other things, acquire real estate, make improvements, put tenants in place, etc. Bridge Loans may also be referred to as Interim Loans and generally carry higher interest rates and fees than Conventional Loans or Permanent Loans (Permanent Mortgage Loan).

Business Credit Report

A business credit report is a profile of your business that contains critical information such as payment history that lenders examine when evaluating a business loan application. Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) is a well-known for issuing business reports.

Business Line of Credit

A commercial loan that generally provides for working capital needs of a business. A working capital line (loan) is generally revolving, which means that the business can draw down on the line up to the authorized amount, repay any amount borrowed and re-draw funds as needed during the time that the "Line" is in place. It may be secured by collateral or unsecured.

Business Valuation or Practice Valuation

The process of determining the economic value of a business or of a medical, dental, legal or similar practice. Business valuation can be used to determine the fair value of a business for a variety of reasons, including sale value, financing, establishing partner ownership and divorce proceedings. Often times, owners will turn to professional business valuation companies for an objective estimate of the business value.

Capitalization Rate or "Cap Rate"

The Cap Rate is utilized in commercial real estate financing and sales transactions. It is the percentage derived by dividing the income generated from the use of the property by the value of the property. It is used to determine debt service coverage for a loan or potential return on investment. It also used for appraisal of properties whereby appraisers will use an assumed "Cap Rate" (according to market conditions) to determine the value of the property when using the "income approach" to valuation. See Commercial Real Estate Appraisal below.

Certificate of Good Standing

Certificate issued by the designated authority in a State (generally the Secretary of State) to verify that a corporation or other business entity actually exists, has paid all its statutory fees, has met all filing requirements and, therefore, is authorized to transact business in that State. A Good Standing Certificate is generally required for any type of closing to take place, whether acquisition or financing.


Collateral is the property pledged to a lender or other party to secure repayment of a loan or performance of some required task.

Compound Interest

Interest is compounded when the interest due on a business loan for a given period is added to the principal amount of the loan and that amount then also accrues interest.

Cost of Goods Sold

Inventory costs of those goods a business has sold during a particular period. Costs are associated with particular goods using one of several formulas, including specific identification, first-in first-out (FIFO i.e. first purchased is first sold), or average cost. Costs include all costs of purchase, costs of conversion and other costs incurred in bringing the inventories to their present location and saleable condition. Costs of goods sold by the business include material, labor, and allocated overhead.

Credit Reports

A report containing detailed information on a person's credit history, including identifying information, credit accounts and loans, bankruptcies and late payments, and recent inquiries. It can be obtained by prospective lenders with the borrower's permission, to determine his or her creditworthiness.

Credit Score Credit Score

Often referred to as the FICO score is a numerical rating determined by an analysis of your Credit Reports. The FICO scores range between 300 and 850, with the lower number allegedly representing a greater credit risk.

Current Assets Cash

Accounts receivable, marketable securities, inventory and other assets of a business that can be converted into cash within a year.

Current Liabilities

Current or Short Term Debt Liabilities or debts of a business that mature or become due within one year.

Current Ratio

A liquidity ratio that measures the ability of a business to pay short-term obligations. It is often used by banks when evaluating business loan requests. Formula: Current Ratio = Current Assets ÷ Current Liabilities.

Debt Service

The amount of the required periodic payments of principal and interest on a loan or other obligation.

 Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR or DSC)

The amount of cash flow available to meet annual principal and interest payments on business loans and investment real estate loans. Formula: Debt Service Coverage Ratio = Net Operating Income ÷ Debt Service

Debt to Worth Ratio or Debt to Equity Ratio

Ratio of the business’s debt to net worth. It is calculated by dividing liabilities by shareholders' equity or the company's net worth. The lower this ratio, the greater the size of buffer available to creditors/lenders, the higher the ratio the greater the potential risk.

Default Interest and Late Charges

Default Interest is a higher rate of interest that is charged to a business borrower while their loan is in default (the default rate of interest will be set forth in the loan documents). Late charges are amounts that will be charged if a borrower is late in a payment that is due even though the loan is not in default.


In accounting, an expense recorded to deduct a business’s tangible asset's cost over its useful life. Because depreciation is a non-cash expense, it does not impact cash flow but it does decrease reported earnings.


EBITDA is one of the measures that lenders use to evaluate a business's creditworthiness and its ability to repay a loan. It is calculated by taking the net earnings of the company (revenues minus expenses) and then adding back interest costs, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

Equity Injection

In connection with business financing requests this generally refers to the cash and value of property contributed to the business by the borrower(s).

Equity, Net Equity or Net Worth Equity

Net Equity or Net Worth basically refers to the assets of the business minus its liabilities.


Factoring is a form of accounts receivable financing whereby a business will sell its accounts receivable to the factor (a third party) at a discount.

Fixed Assets or Tangible Property Physical

Physical assets that a business owns. Buildings, real estate, machinery and equipment, computers and furniture are examples of fixed or tangible assets.

Identification of whether or not a property that is being acquired by loan applicants or used as collateral for a loan is located on government-designated flood plains.

Good Will

Good Will is an Intangible Asset on a business's balance sheet, generally arising from the difference between the purchase price paid for the business minus the net value of its assets (assets minus liabilities).

Gross Profit

Gross Profit is calculated by taking the revenue generated by the business and deducting the cost of acquiring and/or producing the goods sold or providing the service performed. It generally does not include costs attributable to indirect labor, taxes, rent, utilities and interest.

Gross Profit Margin Ratio

This is calculated by dividing the Gross Profit by the revenues. It provides some guidance as to whether the pricing for the products or services are adequate or too low and whether the costs associated are adequate or too high. The margin should be large enough to cover operating and other expenses and provide a reserve for growth.

Gross Revenue

Gross Revenue is the income generated by a business or property before deducting expenses.

Guarantee or Guaranty

Generally the obligation of one party to pay or assume the obligation of another if the other does not pay. A guarantee may be an Unlimited Guarantee or it may be a Limited Guarantee. A Limited Guarantee may provide that the person guaranteeing (Guarantor) is only responsible for certain obligations or amounts.

Hard Money Loan

Loan typically issued by a non-Bank lender based on the quick-sale of a piece of commercial real estate, an opportunistic opportunity to acquire property at a bargain price and possibly a distressed financial situation that may not qualify for traditional conventional financing. Hard money loans generally are short term "Bridge Loans" and carry high rates of interest and points.

Intangible Assets

Intangible Assets are business assets (other than cash or cash equivalents) that have value and generally are not physical assets. Examples of intangible assets are trade secrets, patents, trademarks, and copyrights. Good Will is also an intangible asset.

Interest Expense

The interest on existing business debt that is paid to banks and creditors.


The raw materials, work-in-process goods and completely finished goods that are ready or will be ready for sale. Inventory represents one of the most important assets that most businesses possess because the turnover of inventory represents one of the primary sources of revenue generation and earnings.

Lien, Mechanics Lien, Judgment Lien and Tax Lien

A lien is a Security Interest in property to secure repayment of an obligation. A Mortgage is a lien on real estate to secure repayment of the mortgage loan. A Tax Lien is a lien on real estate to secure payment of real estate taxes, a Mechanic's Lien is a lien on real estate to secure payment for work done on real estate, and a judgment lien is a lien to secure payment of a judgment. A lien on personal property such as machinery and equipment or accounts receivable is generally perfected by filling of a UCC financing statement and execution of a security agreement.

Loan to Value (LTV)

Loan to Value is an important ratio for lenders. It is the amount of the loan divided by the value of the collateral taken as security for the loan (if there is a lien that will have a priority interest in that collateral, then the amount of that lien is deducted from the value of the collateral when determining the LTV.)

Long Term Debt (LTD)

Long Term Debt - Notes and other debt obligations with a maturity date longer than one year.

Machinery & Equipment Loan

A business loan that is generally secured by the machinery and equipment of the borrower. These loans are used for the purchase or refinance of machinery and equipment for a business.

Net Cash Flow

Net Cash Flow is the amount (positive or negative) of the changes in a company's cash balance over a given period of time (usually measured monthly, quarterly and annually). It can consist of cash generated from operations, investments and financings minus expenses.

Net Income

Net Income is a company's Gross Revenues minus its expenses including cost of goods sold, taxes, interest, depreciation, rent, overhead etc. Net Income is the business's profit.

Non-Recourse Guarantee

Generally used in connection with real estate loans whereby the borrower is guaranteeing repayment only to the extent of the value of the real estate or other collateral pledged as security for the loan. In other words the lender's sole recourse in the event of a default is to liquidate the collateral. An Unlimited Guarantee or Recourse Guarantee permits the lender to seek repayment from the guarantors either before or after the collateral is liquidated, (depending upon the terms of the guarantee and the laws of the applicable jurisdiction).

Notes Payable - Long Term Debt (LTD)

Notes, debts and other financial obligations maturing later than one year.

Origination Fee or Points

An up-front fee charged by a lender for processing and committing to make a loan. Origination fees are quoted as a percentage of the total loan (ex. 1% of $200,000 = $2,000).

Payroll & Benefits

Total employee compensation and related benefits such as social security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, workmen’s compensation insurance, disability insurance, retirement plans.

Personal Property

Personal Property is generally defined as any assets other than real estate.

Prepayment Penalty

These are provisions generally found in commercial mortgage loans which provide extra protection against loss of expected income to the lender if a loan is paid off before its maturity date. A prepayment penalty generally takes the form of a fee or points, measured as a percentage of the remaining loan balance at the time of prepayment, to be paid to the lender (e.g. 1%).

Quick Ratio

Indicates the ability of the business to quickly generate cash to pay its current liabilities’ inventory is generally not used in the calculation. It is determined by dividing the sum of cash on hand, marketable securities and accounts receivable by the current liabilities.

SBA 504 Loan Combination 1st lien

Bank or non-Bank loan and subordinated debenture provided by a Certified Development Company (CDC) which is 100% guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA). Provided to start-up and existing small businesses for major fixed assets acquisitions, expansion or modernization.

SBA 7(a) Loan

Bank or non-Bank loan provided for start-up and existing small businesses for a variety of loan uses including real estate, machinery and equipment and working capital. The federal government through the SBA guarantees repayment of a portion of the loan to the lender although the borrower remains fully liable for the whole loan (to the lender and/or the SBA for their respective portions).

SBA Guarantee Fee

To offset the costs of its loan programs, SBA charges lenders a guaranty fee and a servicing fee for each loan approved and disbursed. The amount of the fees is based on the guaranteed portion of the loans. The lender may charge the upfront guaranty fee to the borrower after the lender has paid the fee to SBA and has made the first disbursement of the loan. The lender's annual service fee to SBA cannot be charged to the borrower.

Second Mortgage or Subordinate Loan

A second mortgage is a mortgage on property that is subordinate to the first mortgage. The holder of the prior mortgage (First Mortgage) has priority over the second mortgage lender with respect to proceeds from liquidation of the collateral property pledged for repayment of the loan.

Secured Loan

A loan secured by collateral, whereas an Unsecured Loan has no collateral pledged as security for repayment.

Security Interest

A pledge of property to secure performance of a loan or other obligation. A mortgage or lien is a security interest.

Soft Costs or Soft Project Costs

The term is generally used in connection with construction projects to differentiate between the "hard" construction costs such as materials and labor associated with the physical construction from the other costs such as financing, legal, architectural, engineering, etc.

Standby Loan or Standby Debt

This can refer to either a commitment by a lender to make a loan if certain circumstances occur or borrowed subordinated financing which by its terms requires no payment on the loan while the primary loan is in place.

Tangible Debt to Worth

Ratio that measures a business's ability to absorb losses, without reducing its ability to service existing debt. The lower the ratio, the greater the size of buffer available to creditors/lenders. Formula: (Accounts payable + Long-term debt + Other Loans ÷ Total net worth - intangible assets such as copyrights, patents and intellectual property).

Tax and Insurance Escrow

Often a lender will require a borrower to put in escrow (generally on a monthly basis) an amount calculated to pay for the real estate taxes and insurance premiums, when due, with respect to the real estate collateral pledged to secure its loan.

Tax Monitoring Fees

A closing cost used to ensure that borrowers pay their property taxes. A tax service fee is typically paid by the business borrower at the time the mortgage is made (the Closing), and it is standard practice for the lender to then pass this sum on to a tax service agency. The role of a tax service agency is to look for delinquent property taxes and alert the lender to prevent tax liens from existing against the borrower's property. Since tax liens have priority over lender liens, banks want to ensure that they, not the taxing municipality, become the owner of these properties in the event of default.


Lenders' loan terms may vary by loan uses, however as a guide the following terms may apply: Working Capital - 5 to 10 years / Machinery and Equipment - 7 to 15 years / Real Estate - 5 to 30 years.

UCC Filing Uniform Commercial Code

Code of laws governing various commercial transactions that was designed to bring uniformity in these areas to the laws of the various states. To properly file a lien and take a security interest in personal property owned by the borrower, a lender must file the UCC financing statement with the appropriate governmental authority.

Working Capital

Working Capital is calculated by subtracting a company's short term or current liabilities from its current assets. It is a measure of whether the company can meet its obligations as they fall due