This section explains how to check if the company you are searching for has any borrowings and has promised some of its assets as collateral for the loan. It also explains how to check if a director or shareholder has also promised some of their assets under a loan.
Checking if the company has promised its assets to a lender
Companies often take out loans with banks or other kinds of financial institutions. In return, the company has to pledge some form of collateral- this may be real property (land and buildings), or moveable property (such as equipment, vehicles, accounts receivable etc.).
If you are planning to lend money to a company, or planning to do business with a company, or looking to purchase the company, you should check if the company has pledged any of its assets as collateral to somebody else, because if they have, the first lender will have priority over those assets if there is a default.
If the company has pledged its land or buildings, you need to check with the lands registry.
If they have pledged assets that are moveable property, this might be called a company charge, but it might go by another name- either way, you can easily check the details on the secured transactions register online for free. This register is based on a system called secured transactions. A basic description of the system is attached at the end of this page.
You will need to ensure you have priority over assets you wish to take as security, or if you do not have priority, you are still comfortable making a loan or doing business with the company.
You can search for any notice of a security interest by clicking on this link.
Enter the company name in the box. If a result comes up you will see certain details.
This means that:
- a bank called Oceania Bank Limited has made a loan to ABC Company Limited.
- to secure the loan, the bank has taken current and future accounts receivable, as well as a vehicle as collateral.
- the Bank will have filed this notice for a fee. By filing the notice, the bank has priority over other lenders in relation to the collateral it has listed.
- by checking this, you are now aware that the collateral listed has first been pledged to Oceania Bank. If the company defaults on their loans, the bank will be able to claim these assets before you.
Checking if the Directors or Shareholders also have security interests
You are also able to check if the director or shareholder of the company you are dealing with has pledged any collateral. Often, for example, a person may pledge some or all of their National Provident Fund contributions. Go to this link and click on ‘individual’ for Debtor type, instead of company. Enter part or all of their name, and any notices of security interest will then appear.
The secured transactions process is described in the diagram here.