Overcollateralization

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Overcollateralization

The practice or process of placing an asset as collateral on a loan where the value of the asset exceeds the value of the loan. For example, a person could pledge a farm (worth $10 million) on a loan for $5 million. Usually, however, the value of the asset only exceeds the value of the loan by 10-20%. Overcollateralization reduces the risk for the lender and improves the borrower's creditworthiness. It is used most commonly when a bond issuer wishes to improve its credit rating.
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An extended bull market led many--not only borrowers but also lenders--to believe the stock market would continue to rise, thereby overcollateralizing the loans.