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Trust Receipts


Trust receipts are legal documents issued by financial institutions to borrowers as evidence for the release of merchandise to a borrower in a trust receipt transaction. Here, the borrower is obliged to maintain the goods, sell them on behalf of the lender and repay the loan from the generated proceeds. Essentially, they represent an arrangement where a lender controls the collateral security for an extended loan while the borrower holds the possession of the goods.


The phonetics of the keyword “Trust Receipts” are: Trust: /trʌst/Receipts: /rɪˈsiːts/

Key Takeaways

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  1. Trust Receipts are a type of arrangement in which a bank extends credit to businesses that require imported goods on credit. The bank pays the supplier and holds the title over the goods, with the client gaining possession of the goods with the agreement that they will sell the goods and repay the bank.
  2. In a trust receipt agreement, the bank remains the legal owner of the goods until the loan is fully repaid. If the borrower fails to adhere to the agreement, the bank can repossess or sell the goods to recover the loan amount.
  3. Trust Receipts are advantageous for businesses as they provide them with required credit to operate without tying up capital in inventory. However, they are riskier for banks as they are based on trust. Banks usually enter into such agreements with businesses they have a long-standing relationship with and consider trustworthy.



Trust Receipts are a significant instrument in business financing, particularly in international trade. These documents effectively enable importers and buyers to access funding from a financial institution to pay their suppliers without relinquishing control of the merchandise. Upon receipt of the goods, the buyer then undertakes to either sell or use them to repay the loan, thus facilitating cash flow management and liquidity. Trust Receipts also provide security for lenders as they maintain a title to the goods until the loan is fully repaid, reducing their risk. Therefore, Trust Receipts play a vital role in ensuring the smooth flow of goods and finance in international business transactions.


Trust Receipts primarily serve a crucial role in the area of international trade finance. Essentially, its primary purpose is to improve financial liquidity for importers while minimizing risk for financial institutions backing the transactions. This uniquely structured form of lending allows importers to take possession of merchandise before they have actually paid for it — a vital element in facilitating smooth international trading activities. For some businesses, acquiring goods proves to be a financial strain as they often need to make payments before they can actually sell the goods and recuperate funds. Trust Receipts address this issue by enabling businesses to sell the goods first, and then repay the lender, typically a bank, later.For banks, Trust Receipts represent a secure financing tool because they allow control over the goods until the borrowing party fulfills their payment obligation. Upon the arrival of goods purchased from an overseas supplier, the bank clears the goods on behalf of the importer and holds legal title to the goods, while the importer is allowed to sell them. Meanwhile, the proceeds from the sale are used to repay the bank. This arrangement mitigates the risk for the bank, as they have the security of the imported goods if the importer is unable to repay the financing. Therefore, Trust Receipts essentially provide a practical solution to bridge the cash flow gap in international trade, helping businesses thrive while safeguarding lenders’ interests.


1. Car Dealership: In the automotive business, a dealership might get a trust receipt loan to purchase a fleet of cars from a manufacturer. The cars are used as collateral for the loan. Although the manufacturer still holds the titles of the cars, the dealer has the possession and can sell these cars. Once cars are sold, the dealer is obliged to repay the loan from the revenue, mostly on a per-car basis.2. Jewelry Business: A jeweler may use a trust receipt as a way of financing the inventory. The bank will loan the business funds to purchase precious metals and gemstones which are held as collateral. The business is allowed to create and sell jewelry from these materials. The funds earned from selling these finished goods are then used to repay the loan according to the conditions of the trust receipt.3. Construction Company: A construction company might use a trust receipt to finance purchasing the materials needed for a new project. In this scenario, a bank would provide a loan allowing the company to purchase the required materials and use them to execute their projects. Once the project is complete and the company receives payment, this money is used to pay off the loan. The materials purchased remain the property of the lending bank until the loan is cleared.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What are Trust Receipts in finance and business?

Trust Receipts are legal documents that allow a bank’s customer to hold and sell goods on behalf of the bank, while the bank retains the ownership. The customer then repays the bank out of the proceeds from selling these goods.

Are Trust Receipts considered a loan?

Yes, in essence, a Trust Receipt is a form of loan as it provides the borrower with the funds to purchase goods, with the expectation that the borrower will repay the bank when the goods are sold.

What is the main reason behind using Trust Receipts?

Trust Receipts are beneficial to businesses as they offer a way to finance purchases without needing immediate cash. They allow businesses to obtain goods needed for their operation while deferring payment until after sales are made.

Who benefits from Trust Receipts?

Both the bank and the customer benefit from Trust Receipts. The bank ensures it retains ownership of the goods until the receipt is paid, thus mitigating risk. The customer, on the other hand, receives the goods needed for business operation without having to pay upfront.

Is there any risk involved in Trust Receipts?

Yes, the primary risk is that the customer may not be able to sell the goods, and hence, be unable to repay the bank. If this happens, the bank might recoup less than what was originally loaned.

Can Trust Receipts be used for any type of goods?

Trust Receipts are customarily used for tangible goods, particularly inventory that can be easily sold or turned into cash.

How does repayment under Trust Receipts normally work?

The customer, after selling the goods, repays the bank from the sales proceeds, usually within a specific timeframe as agreed in the Trust Receipt.

What happens if a customer fails to repay a Trust Receipt?

If a customer fails to repay, the bank, being the owner of the goods, has the right to seize and sell them to recover the outstanding amount. Legal action might also be taken for major violations.

What legal implications are involved in Trust Receipts?

Trust Receipts involve a legal agreement that asserts the bank’s ownership of the goods until the loan is paid off. Failure to fulfill the terms of the Trust Receipt could result in a breach of trust, with potential legal consequences.

Related Finance Terms

  • Collateral Security
  • Warehouse Receipt
  • Import Loan
  • Letter of Credit (LC)
  • Trust Receipt Loan (TRL)

Sources for More Information

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