UncategorizedGuidelines on Default Loss Guarantee by RBI – A safety Net for Fintech

October 27, 20230


A Default loss guarantee (“DLG”) often referred to as a credit guarantee is a financial instrument or contractual agreement that provides protection to a lender or investor against losses resulting from the default of a borrower or debtor. In essence, it serves as a safeguard to mitigate the financial impact of defaults on loans, bonds, or other credit instruments. DLG’s are an important tool in financial markets because they promote the flow of credit and investments by providing a level of security to lenders and investors. They play a significant role in expanding access to financing and reducing the overall credit risk in various financial transactions.

Key Elements of a Default Loss Guarantee:

  • Risk Mitigation: A default loss guarantee is designed to mitigate the credit risk faced by lenders. It assures them that if the borrower fails to meet their obligations, the guarantor will step in to cover a portion of the losses.
  • Guarantor: The entity providing the guarantee, known as guarantor can be a financial institution, a government agency, or a specialized credit enhancement provider. The guarantor assesses the risk associated with the transaction and commits to covering predefined losses.
  • Terms and conditions: The terms of the guarantee, including its duration and specific triggers for activating the guarantee, are outlined in a legally binding agreement. The terms may also specify any resource the lender has against the borrower after the guarantee is invoked.

Before the issuance of the Reserve Bank of India’s (“RBI’s”) guidelines on default loss guarantees, the lending and financial landscape in India may have been characterized by several challenges and loan losses. The assessment of credit risk and the determination of appropriate collateral or guarantees could have varied greatly among different lenders, leading to disparities in loan terms and interest rates. The lack of a centralized credit information system could have limited lender’s ability to access the comprehensive credit histories of borrowers, making it difficult to assess creditworthiness accurately.

Without any clear guidelines, there may have been a higher incidence of loan defaults, particularly in sectors or regions with a higher credit risk. Investors in loans or debt securities might have faced uncertainty about the potential losses associated with their investments due to the lack of transparent default management practices.

The issuance of RBI’s guidelines on default loss guarantees would have aimed to address these issues by providing a structured and regulatory framework for lenders to follow when dealing with defaults. These guidelines would have likely outlined procedures for risk assessment, debt recovery mechanisms and customer protection, with the overall goal of promoting a more stable and consistent lending environment in India.


In a significant move, the Reserve Bank of India has recently issued Guidelines on Default Loss Guarantees in digital lending. The Reserve Bank of India by way of a circular issued Guidelines on Default Loss Guarantee in digital lending on 8th June 2023 provided the much-needed legitimacy to default loss guarantee also known as first loss default guarantee FLDG) between a regulated entity and lending service provider with some qualifiers and conditionalities.

It typically refers to the rules and policies that financial institutions or lenders follow to manage and mitigate the risk of borrowers defaulting on their loans. These guidelines can vary depending on the specific institution, type of loan, and local regulations. Regulated Entity may enter into DLG arrangements only with a Lending Service Provider or other regulated entity with which it has entered into an outsourcing arrangement. Further, the lending service provider under the Companies Act, 2013.

Guidelines of Default Loss Guarantee generally include:

  • Credit Assessment: Conduct a thorough credit assessment of borrowers to determine their creditworthiness. This may involve reviewing their credit history, income, and financial stability.
  • Loan-to-Value Ratio: Set limits on the loan-to-value ratio, which ensures that borrowers have a certain amount of equity or collateral to secure the loan.
  • Debt-to-income Ratio: Establish maximum debt-to-income ratios to ensure that borrowers can comfortably manage their debt obligations.
  • Collateral Requirements: It specifies the type and value of collateral required for certain types of loans, such as mortgages or auto loans.
  • Customer Education: Provide information and resources to borrowers to help them understand their financial obligations and options in case of financial difficulties.


Default loss guarantees can be applicable in various financial and lending contexts to help mitigate credit risk and encourage lending or investment in situations where there might be concerns about borrower default.

  • Mortgages: Guarantees can be used in mortgage lending to make housing loans more accessible. Government agencies often provide guarantees to reduce the risk for lenders, making homeownership more achievable for a broader segment of the population.
  • Trade Finance: It is used in international trade to assure payment to exporters and to protect importers against non-delivery of goods or other defaults in trade transactions.
  • Microfinance: In microfinance initiatives, guarantees can make it easier for low-income individuals to access small loans, helping them start or expand businesses.

The applicability of default loss guarantees varies depending on the specific financial institution, industry or government agency involved. It play a crucial role in reducing credit risk, promoting economic growth, and facilitating financial transactions in many sectors.


There are some exceptions to the guidelines of default loss guarantee in certain situations. It is also important to understand what is excluded. The following guarantees shall not be covered within the guidelines of DLG:

  • Guarantee schemes of Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro & Small Enterprises, Credit Risk Guarantee Fund Trust for low income Housing and individual schemes under National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company Ltd.
  • Credit guarantee provided by banks for International Settlements, International Monetary Fund as well as Multilateral Development Banks as referred to in paras 5.5 of RBI Mater Circular on Basel III Capital Regulation dated May 12, 2022.

Further, RBI clarified that DLG arrangements conforming to the DLG Guidelines shall not be treated as ‘Synthetic Securitisation’ and shall not attract the provisions of ‘Loan Participation’.


In conclusion, the guidelines of the Reserve Bank of India play a crucial role in the Indian financial system by addressing credit risk and promoting lending while maintaining stability. These rules are designed to protect lenders, investors, and borrowers alike, fostering economic growth and financial inclusion. The effectiveness and impact of the guidelines can depend on factors such as the overall economic environment, regulatory changes, and the prudence of financial institutions.


The Reserve Bank of India in these guidelines of default loss guarantee set a safety net for financial institutions and encourages the development of digital lending by improving the ecosystem’s effectiveness and discipline. Hence these Guidelines have a positive impact in protecting the customers of digital lending who have experienced harsh treatment and harassment in the market.

Further, these measures put a positive impact on boosting consumer trust and confidence in the Indian digital lending ecosystem. The DLG guidelines mark a significant role in the evolution of digital lending in India. The Reserve Bank of India showcases its commitment of fostering innovation and growth while upholding necessary standards to mitigate system risks. It maintains a balance between facilitating digital lending and safeguarding the standards of Regulated Entities.

Team AMLEGALS assisted by – Ms. Zakiah Pathan (Intern)

For any query or feedback, please feel free to get in touch with tanmay.banthia@amlegals.com or jason.james@amlegals.com

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