Investing Answers Building and Protecting Your Wealth through Education Publisher of The Next Banks That Could Fail
Investing Answers Building and Protecting Your Wealth through Education Publisher of The Next Banks That Could Fail

Parallel Loan

What it is:

Parallel loans are loans in which two parties, each in a different country, lend money to each other in an effort to hedge against currency risk. They are also called back-to-back loans.

How it works (Example):

For example, let’s say Company XYZ is in the United States and Bank ABC is in Germany. Company XYZ is concerned about the value of the dollar changing relative to the euro.

To mitigate this concern, Company XYZ and Bank ABC structure a parallel loan, whereby Company XYZ deposits $1 million with Bank ABC, and Bank ABC (using the deposit as security) lends Company XYZ $1 million worth of euros. The current exchange rate between American dollars and euros is 1:0.50 (that is, $1 buys half a euro). The bank and Company XYZ agree to a one-year term on the loan and a 5% interest rate. When the loan term ends, Company XYZ repays the loan at the fixed rate agreed upon at the beginning of the loan term, thereby insuring against currency risk during the term of the loan.

Why it Matters:

Companies could certainly trade currency in the currency markets, but parallel loans can be more convenient and the companies get the currency they need. However, currency swaps and similar instruments have largely replaced parallel loans. Regardless, these instruments promote international trade.

Though our example involves two relatively stable currencies, parallel loans most commonly involve unstable currencies (due to their high volatility, thus created more need among companies in those countries to mitigate their currency risk).