The law governing security interests in personal property is Article 9 of the UCC, which defines a security interest as an interest in personal property or fixtures that secures payment or performance of an obligation. Article 9 lumps together all the former types of security devices, including the pledge, chattel mortgage, and conditional sale.
Five types of tangible property may serve as collateral: (1) consumer goods, (2) equipment, (3) farm products, (4) inventory, and (5) fixtures. Five types of intangibles may serve as collateral: (1) accounts, (2) general intangibles (e.g., patents), (3) documents of title, (4) chattel paper, and (5) instruments. Article 9 expressly permits the debtor to give a security interest in after-acquired collateral.
To create an enforceable security interest, the lender and borrower must enter into an agreement establishing the interest, and the lender must follow steps to ensure that the security interest first attaches and then is perfected. There are three general requirements for attachment: (1) there must be an authenticated agreement (or the collateral must physically be in the lender’s possession), (2) the lender must have given value, and (3) the debtor must have some rights in the collateral. Once the interest attaches, the lender has rights in the collateral superior to those of unsecured creditors. But others may defeat his interest unless he perfects the security interest. The three common ways of doing so are (1) filing a financing statement, (2) pledging collateral, and (3) taking a purchase-money security interest (PMSI) in consumer goods.
A financing statement is a simple notice, showing the parties’ names and addresses, the signature of the debtor, and an adequate description of the collateral. The financing statement, effective for five years, must be filed in a public office; the location of the office varies among the states.
Security interests in instruments and negotiable documents can be perfected only by the secured party’s taking possession, with twenty-one-day grace periods applicable under certain circumstances. Goods may also be secured through pledging, which is often done through field warehousing. If a seller of consumer goods takes a PMSI in the goods sold, then perfection is automatic and no filing is required, although the lender may file and probably should, to avoid losing seniority to a bona fide purchaser of consumer goods without knowledge of the security interest, if the goods are used for personal, family, or household purposes.
The general priority rule is “first in time, first in right.” Priority dates from the earlier of two events: (1) filing a financing statement covering the collateral or (2) other perfection of the security interest. Several exceptions to this rule arise when creditors take a PMSI, among them, when a buyer in the ordinary course of business takes free of a security interest created by the seller.
On default, a creditor may repossess the collateral. For the most part, self-help private repossession continues to be lawful but risky. After repossession, the lender may sell the collateral or accept it in satisfaction of the debt. Any excess in the selling price above the debt amount must go to the debtor.
Suretyship is a legal relationship that is created when one person contracts to be responsible for the proper fulfillment of another’s obligation, in case the latter (the principal debtor) fails to fulfill it. The surety may avail itself of the principal’s contract defenses, but under various circumstances, defenses may be available to the one that are not available to the other. One general defense often raised by sureties is alteration of the contract. If the surety is required to perform, it has rights for reimbursement against the principal, including interest and legal fees; and if there is more than one surety, each standing for part of the obligation, one who pays a disproportionate part may seek contribution from the others.
Creditors may obtain security
Under UCC Article 9, when the debtor has pledged collateral to the creditor, what other condition is required for attachment of the security interest?
To perfect a security interest, one may
Perfection benefits the secured party by
Creditor filed a security interest in inventory on June 1, 2012. Creditor’s interest takes priority over which of the following?