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The borrowing of a sum of money by one person, company, government or other organization from another. Loans may be secured or unsecured, interest bearing or interest free, long-term or short-term, redeemable or irredeemable. Loans may be made by individuals and companies, banks, insurance and hire purchase companies, building societies and other financial intermediaries, pawnbrokers or by the issue of securities.

Reference: The Penguin Dictionary of Economics, 3rd edt.