Stand-by letter of credit (SBLC)
A Stand-By Letter of Credit (SBLC) is another type of documentary letters of credit.
A Stand-By Letter of Credit is a written obligation of the issuing bank to the beneficiary (exporter, supplier) to perform payment on behalf of ordering customer (importer, buyer), in case of the latter’s non-fulfillment of its contractual obligations and in case of the beneficiary providing a written demand for payment.
A Stand-By Letter of Credit is mostly issued to guarantee fulfillment of the ordering customer’s obligations before the beneficiary.
A Stand-By Letter of Credit is issued for the period (this period corresponds mostly to the validity period of the contract or goods delivery time under the contract) and can be terminated or extended based on the ordering customer’s notice and upon consent of the beneficiary.
A Stand-By Letter of Credit is issued in addition to the contract, which stipulates regular payments of the ordering customer to the beneficiary.
Payments under a contract are made by the ordering customer irrespectively of issuing the Stand-By Letter of Credit.
We issue for our clients a Stand-By Letter of Credit (SBLC), which performs the functions of a Letter of Guarantee, i.e. it works only in case the terms of a contract are breached. The difference between a Stand-By Letter of Credit and a Letter of Guarantee is that a Stand-By Letter of Credit can be governed by the Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits (UCP 600), which stipulates certain standards for checking documents, while this cannot be applied to a Letter of Guarantee. Therefore, if the beneficiary’s demand under a Letter of Guarantee is accompanied by documents confirming fulfillment by the beneficiary of its obligations, the bank checks only the availability of these documents and, possibly, their compliance with the requirements contained in the Letter of Guarantee itself. In case a Stand-By Letter of Credit is used, documents shall meet the standards stipulated in UCP 600, as well as comply with each other, which significantly increases the level of protection. The fact that Stand-By Letters of Credit are governed by the Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits also eliminates problems related to Letters of Guarantee usually complying with the legislation of the country of location of the guarantor bank.
Similarities between a Letter of Credit and a Letter of Guarantee
1. Both a Letter of Credit and a Letter of Guarantee originate from the need of security of the partners’ obligations in some transaction.
2. Both a Letter of Credit and a Letter of Guarantee represent the obligation of a bank to make payment to a specified beneficiary against certain documents.
3. Both a Letter of Credit and a Letter of Guarantee are paid upon provision to the bank of documents strictly determined and clearly agreed by the conditions of these instruments.
4. Commercial banks establish Letters of Guarantee and Letters of Credit based on written confirmation of the ordering customer’s obligations to be secured with such Letters of Guarantee or Letters of Credit (contract, tender bid etc.).
Differences between a Letter of Credit and a Letter of Guarantee:
1. A Letter of Credit is opened with the intent to use it, i.e. payment under a Letter of Credit takes place under normal circumstances (payment method). A Letter of Guarantee, on the other hand, is applied more as a method to secure obligations and is used if one of the parties appears to be unable to carry out its obligations in the course of a transaction.
2. A Letter of Credit is used as a payment method in various forms. A Letter of Guarantee may cover almost any type of obligation (guarantee of advance payment, fulfillment of contractual obligations, tender obligations, credit repayment, customs duties payment, payment of penalty or compensation established by court, compliance with equipment warranty period, posting a bond, payment of the football transfer fee and many others). Thus the field of application of Letters of Guarantee is much wider than that of Letters of Credit.
3. A Letter of Credit is often a transferable instrument, as it enables optimization of payments between partners. A Letter of Guarantee can rarely be transferable, because all that is needed for receiving funds under a Letter of Guarantee is a demand for payment, which creates certain grounds for abusing this instrument.
Ordering customer’s advantages:
1. Possibility of receiving goods without advance payment;
2. Possibility of receiving goods with a delay in payment;
3. Possibility of temporary use of funds of the bank issuing the Letter of Credit in case of occurrence of the "guarantee” event and in case of inability of returning a payment on time;
4. Fulfillment of obligations to the beneficiary, guaranteed by the bank issuing the Standby Letter of Credit, or a First Class bank;
5. Possibility of termination of the validity period of a Standby Letter of Credit in case of fulfillment of obligations to the beneficiary.
1. Double guarantee of payment for goods supplied – from the issuing bank and from a foreign bank;
2. Quick receipt of costs under a standby letter of credit in case of the ordering customer’s non-fulfillment of its contractual obligations;
3. Possibility of goods shipment prior to the moment of payment with 100% guarantee of payment for goods.
A Standby Letter of Credit is used in cases when one of the parties of the transaction wishes to get maximum guarantee of fulfillment by the other party of its contractual obligations.
Standby letters of credit allow a beneficiary 100% guarantee of payment for goods supplied (performed works, services rendered etc.).
The beneficiary completely minimizes its risks and is ready to supply goods.
Contrary to Letters of Guarantee (which are as a rule governed by the legislation of the country of issue), Standby Letters of Credit are governed by the Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits (UCP 600) – an international document being obligatory for fulfillment.
This is the most widely used and safest system of accounts settlements.
The world practice demonstrates steady growth of popularity of Standby Letters of Credit in payments on foreign trade transactions.
The ease of use, transparency and accessibility of this type of international payment will bring the relations with your foreign partners to a new quality level.