Close this search box.

Table of Contents

Negative Pledge Clause


A Negative Pledge Clause is a type of protective covenant in a bond agreement that prohibits the borrower from taking certain actions that may jeopardize the lender’s security. Essentially, it prevents the borrower from creating any liens or encumbrances on its assets that could potentially rank equal or superior to the debt owed to the lender. It is designed to protect the interests of bondholders by maintaining the borrower’s creditworthiness and the collateral’s value.


The phonetics of “Negative Pledge Clause” is:ˈnɛgətɪv plɛʤ klɔ:z

Key Takeaways

  1. Asset Protection: A negative pledge clause is an important tool in protecting the interests of lenders. It prevents borrowers from using the same asset as collateral for securing additional loans from other lenders. This ensures that the lender’s collateral isn’t devalued or degraded.
  2. Creditworthiness Check: Negative pledge clauses are indicative of a borrower’s creditworthiness. Lenders often see a negative pledge clause as a sign that a borrower is less likely to default on a loan, making them seem more attractive to prospective financiers.
  3. Legal Implications: Violations of a negative pledge clause can have serious legal implications for the borrower, including the immediate repayment of debt or potential legal action from the lender. Therefore, compliance with such clauses is very crucial for borrowers.


A Negative Pledge Clause is significant in business/finance due to its role in protecting the interests of lenders. This particular clause, often included in unsecured loan agreements, prohibits or limits a borrower from pledging any of its assets as security for additional debt without the lender’s permission. This ensures that the borrower does not dilute the pool of assets available to the original lender in the event of payment default, thus potentially decreasing the original lender’s risk exposure. By maintaining the precedence of the original lender’s claim, it provides a level of protection for their investment. Without such a clause, a borrower could secure other debt against its assets, thus leaving unsecured lenders in a challenging situation should the borrower become insolvent.


A Negative Pledge Clause, typically found in loan agreements and bond indentures, is commonly used by lenders as a protective measure. The central aim of the negative pledge clause is to shield the lender’s interests by preventing or restricting the borrower from securing additional debt using the same collateral already promised to the primary lender, which could potentially place the lender’s claim in a subordinate position. By implementing this clause, lenders ensure that their right to recover the debt remains superior to that of any potential future lenders. In the realm of business and finance, this clause plays a vital role in managing lending risk and maintaining a borrower’s creditworthiness. It ensures that the borrower’s assets or collateral do not become over-encumbered with debt, preserving the asset’s value and in turn increasing the likelihood of the lender being repaid. Moreover, it helps the lender control the borrower’s overall debt levels by preventing the borrower from securing additional loans against the same asset, thereby restricting activities that could worsen the borrower’s financial health and their ability to repay their debts.


1. Real Estate Financing: In case of real estate financing, a real estate property owner may have a mortgage with a bank and have agreed to a negative pledge clause. This means the owner will not be able to use their property as collateral for additional loans from other lenders. If the owner breaches this clause, they could be in default of the original mortgage agreement, leading to foreclosure. 2. Corporate Bond Issuance: A corporation issuing bonds may include a negative pledge clause in the bond indenture agreement. This clause prohibits the corporation from using its assets as collateral for future debt unless the bondholders are also given a lien on that asset. This is to protect the bondholders’ interest and ensure their unsecured bond is not turned into a lower ranking debt. 3. Business Loan Agreement: A medium or large size company may enter a loan agreement with a financial institution (like a bank) consisting of a negative pledge clause. This clause prevents the company from pledging any of its assets to other creditors until it has fully repaid this original debt. Such a clause ensures that if the business defaults, the lending bank has primary claim on the available assets for repayment.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a Negative Pledge Clause?
A Negative Pledge Clause is a type of clause that is found in contractual agreements, particularly in loans or bonds. It prevents or restricts the borrower from offering any of its assets as security or collateral to other lenders for further borrowing.
How does a Negative Pledge Clause work?
This clause works by making the borrower pledge that they will not encumber their assets or income. This means that they won’t use current assets as collateral for future borrowing, ensuring that the lender’s interest in the borrower’s assets is not diluted or compromised.
Why are Negative Pledge Clauses significant in finance or business?
They offer protection to lenders and bondholders by prioritizing their rights to a company’s assets, preventing borrowers from making certain decisions that may hinder repayment. They maintain the creditworthiness of a borrower and ensure fair financial dealings.
What could happen if a borrower violates a Negative Pledge Clause?
If a Negative Pledge Clause is violated, it could be considered a default on the loan or bond, allowing the lender or bondholder to demand immediate repayment. This process might lead to liquidation of the borrower’s assets to fulfill the obligations.
Can a company operate with a Negative Pledge Clause in its contract?
Yes, companies can and do operate with these clauses. However, it restricts them from securing any additional debt with assets, requiring them to look at other means for financing like earnings or equity.
Can the terms of a Negative Pledge Clause be negotiated?
Depending on the lender and the borrower’s creditworthiness, terms of the clause can sometimes be negotiated. However, most lenders require a Negative Pledge Clause to protect their interests and ensure payback of the loan or bond.
Are there any risks associated with a Negative Pledge Clause?
For the borrower, the primary risk of a Negative Pledge Clause is the limitation it puts on utilizing their assets for future borrowing. For lenders, the risk is that if the borrower disregards the clause and subsequently defaults on their loan, it may create complications in recovering their dues.

Related Finance Terms

  • Collateral Security
  • Credit Agreement
  • Debt Covenants
  • Restrictive Clause
  • Lien

Sources for More Information

About Our Editorial Process

At Due, we are dedicated to providing simple money and retirement advice that can make a big impact in your life. Our team closely follows market shifts and deeply understands how to build REAL wealth. All of our articles undergo thorough editing and review by financial experts, ensuring you get reliable and credible money advice.

We partner with leading publications, such as Nasdaq, The Globe and Mail, Entrepreneur, and more, to provide insights on retirement, current markets, and more.

We also host a financial glossary of over 7000 money/investing terms to help you learn more about how to take control of your finances.

View our editorial process

About Our Journalists

Our journalists are not just trusted, certified financial advisers. They are experienced and leading influencers in the financial realm, trusted by millions to provide advice about money. We handpick the best of the best, so you get advice from real experts. Our goal is to educate and inform, NOT to be a ‘stock-picker’ or ‘market-caller.’ 

Why listen to what we have to say?

While Due does not know how to predict the market in the short-term, our team of experts DOES know how you can make smart financial decisions to plan for retirement in the long-term.

View our expert review board

About Due

Due makes it easier to retire on your terms. We give you a realistic view on exactly where you’re at financially so when you retire you know how much money you’ll get each month. Get started today.

Due Fact-Checking Standards and Processes

To ensure we’re putting out the highest content standards, we sought out the help of certified financial experts and accredited individuals to verify our advice. We also rely on them for the most up to date information and data to make sure our in-depth research has the facts right, for today… Not yesterday. Our financial expert review board allows our readers to not only trust the information they are reading but to act on it as well. Most of our authors are CFP (Certified Financial Planners) or CRPC (Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor) certified and all have college degrees. Learn more about annuities, retirement advice and take the correct steps towards financial freedom and knowing exactly where you stand today. Learn everything about our top-notch financial expert reviews below… Learn More