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Recourse Loan


A recourse loan is a type of debt financing where the lender has the legal right to collect the remaining loan balance from the borrower’s personal or business assets if they default on repaying the loan. This provides additional security for the lender, as they are able to pursue the borrower’s assets beyond the collateral initially provided. In case of default, the borrower’s other possessions may be seized and sold to recover the outstanding debt.


The phonetic pronunciation of “Recourse Loan” is: /rɪˈkɔrs loʊn/

Key Takeaways


  1. Collateral & Personal Liability: In recourse loans, the borrower is personally liable for the debt. If the borrower defaults, the lender can go after both the collateral and the borrower’s personal assets to satisfy the debt. This aspect distinguishes recourse loans from non-recourse loans, where lenders can only seize the collateral.
  2. Risk & Interest Rates: Due to the added security provided by borrower’s personal liability, lenders often offer lower interest rates for recourse loans compared to non-recourse loans. Borrowers may benefit from these lower interest rates, but they should be aware that they are taking on greater risks, as their personal assets may be at stake.
  3. Debt Recovery Options: Lenders have a variety of debt recovery options available with recourse loans. This may include foreclosing on the collateral, selling it, and pursuing any remaining balance from the borrower. Lenders can also obtain a deficiency judgment and use it to garnish the borrower’s wages, levy bank accounts, or place liens on other properties owned by the borrower.


The term “recourse loan” is important in business and finance as it has implications for both the borrower and the lender concerning the allocation of risk and financial responsibility. In a recourse loan, if the borrower defaults, the lender has the legal right to claim not only the collateral securing the loan, but also any other assets the borrower holds, up to the amount of the outstanding debt. This provides extra security for the lender, as they may recover potential losses more effectively, while highlighting the borrower’s need to ensure timely repayments to avoid losing additional assets. The level of risk associated with recourse loans often translates into more favorable terms for the borrower, such as lower interest rates, making this type of funding arrangement an important consideration within the wider context of business and financial planning.


A recourse loan serves a vital purpose in the finance and business world by providing a measure of security to the lender while extending credit to borrowers. Essentially, it ensures that the lender has the ability to recover their investment if a borrower defaults on their repayment obligations. This type of loan not only enables lenders to manage their risk exposure more effectively but also encourages them to offer loans to a wide range of borrowers, including those who may not have the most sterling credit records. The availability of credit is crucial in promoting business growth and encouraging economic activity, and recourse loans play a significant role in broadening access to capital. Recourse loans are utilized for various purposes, such as mortgages, commercial loans, and personal loans. They offer advantages to both parties involved: the borrower can obtain financing for critical projects, while the lender can have confidence that their potential losses associated with non-payment are mitigated. In the event of a borrower defaulting on a recourse loan, the lender has the right to pursue legal action to recover the outstanding amount. The lender may seize and sell the collateral associated with the loan, such as property, assets, or equipment. If the collateral does not cover the outstanding balance, the lender is legally allowed to target the borrower’s other assets and sources of income to recover the remaining debt. This way, recourse loans offer additional protection to lenders, fostering an environment of trust that is essential for the growth and smooth functioning of the financial market.


1. Mortgage Loan: A common real-world example of a recourse loan is a mortgage loan taken for home financing. In case the borrower defaults on their mortgage payments, the lender has the legal right to repossess the house (collateral) and sell it to recoup the loan amount. If the proceeds from the sale are insufficient to cover the outstanding loan balance, the lender can pursue the borrower’s personal assets to recover the remaining amount, making it a recourse loan. 2. Car Loan: When a person takes out a car loan, the car serves as collateral for the loan. If the person defaults on the loan payments, similar to a mortgage loan, the lender can repossess the car and sell it to recoup the loan amount. Should the car not yield enough money to cover the outstanding loan balance, the lender can pursue the borrower’s personal assets under a recourse car loan. 3. Small Business Administration (SBA) Loans: The U.S. Small Business Administration offers recourse loans for small businesses, such as SBA 7(a) loans. The SBA guarantees a portion of these loans made by lending institutions and provides them with a right to recourse against the borrower’s personal assets if they default. In most cases, SBA loans require some form of personal guarantee, such as the borrower’s home or personal savings, allowing the lender to recover money through the borrower’s personal assets if the business fails to repay the loan.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a recourse loan?
A recourse loan is a type of loan that allows the lender to collect from the borrower or their assets in the case they default on the loan. This means that the lender has the legal right to pursue the borrower’s personal assets, in addition to the collateral, if the borrower fails to make their loan payments.
How does a recourse loan differ from a non-recourse loan?
The main difference between a recourse and non-recourse loan is the level of protection the borrower receives in the case of a default. With a non-recourse loan, the lender can only take the collateral, while with a recourse loan, the lender can pursue additional assets beyond the collateral in order to recoup their losses.
In which situations is a recourse loan commonly used?
Recourse loans are often used in situations where the lender perceives a higher level of risk, such as with unsecured loans, start-up financing, or businesses with limited credit history. They can also be used in secured loans where the collateral’s value is uncertain or unpredictable, like real estate or business assets.
What types of assets can be collected in a recourse loan?
In a recourse loan, the lender can go after various types of personal and business assets, which may include real estate, personal property, bank accounts, investments, and other assets, depending on the laws and regulations in the relevant jurisdiction.
What are the advantages of a recourse loan for the borrower?
A recourse loan may have lower interest rates and more favorable terms compared to a non-recourse loan because the lender has more security in case of default. Additionally, borrowers may have access to a greater amount of capital than with a non-recourse loan.
What are the potential risks or disadvantages for the borrower with a recourse loan?
With a recourse loan, the borrower may be exposed to a higher level of risk in the event of default, since the lender can pursue a wide range of assets in addition to the collateral. This can lead to the loss of personal property or investments, creating a serious impact on the borrower’s financial stability.
Are there any benefits for the lender in offering recourse loans?
By providing recourse loans, the lender has additional security, making it less likely that they will experience a total loss in the event of a default. This allows lenders to offer larger loans with better terms, which can be beneficial for the borrowers and the lender’s overall business.
Can a recourse loan be converted to a non-recourse loan?
It is theoretically possible to renegotiate the terms of a recourse loan, converting it into a non-recourse loan. However, such a conversion would typically involve an increase in the interest rate, additional fees, or a reduction in the loan amount to compensate the lender for the increased risk they are taking on with a non-recourse loan.

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