Q&A: Getting a Loan in a Tough Economy
In the current economy, many people believe that institutions don't want to give out loans. The common perception is that "No one is lending," but Melina Young from Verity Credit Union is here to set the record straight.
So, is it true that it is harder to get a loan right now?
Every financial institution is different, but at Verity we haven't tightened our belts much on the criteria for lending. We still have similar credit parameters and are even focusing on getting loans from people with less-than-perfect credit. We know that the economy has been hard on everyone, and we want to provide options for real people who need them now. Actually, our main focus right now is lending.
What does it mean to have your "main focus" on lending?
Everyone from the board of directors to the CEO and all the staff know that we want to get loans right now. We have some really awesome loan promotions and are trying to make it easier to get loans, with better incentives for the people who apply and get their loans funded. We have more than $10 million to lend right now — so we need people to apply!
What kind of loan promotions do you have?
We have recently added a low introductory rate for the first six months on all of our credit cards and if you close your rewards credit card (like the Alaska Airlines Visa card) and open our Journey Visa, we will match your miles with points up to 20,000. The points are good for merchandise from Apply, Sony, Bose and more, and can be redeemed for flights on any airline with no blackout dates (details at veritycu.com/shophappy). We also offer 1% cash back on balance transfers with no balance transfer fees!
For auto loans, if you have a current loan on a car, truck, boat or RV, when you switch to Verity we can beat your rate by 1% and you don't have to make any payments for 90 days. So, if you have a $20,000 auto loan, you could save $200 a year if your rate went down by 1%. If your current monthly payment is $300, with no payments for the first three months, you could use that $900 for something else (pay off another bill perhaps) and know that when your payments do start up again, they will be lower than they were before. (Find details at veritycu.com/drivehappy.)
Is there anything else people need to know about lending right now?
I think it is important to know that it isn't as hard or cumbersome as you might think to get or apply for a loan — at any institution. It doesn't take very long to fill out the application, and if you don't want to go into a branch, you can typically complete and submit the entire application online.
Even if you don't have the best credit, don't let that stop you from trying to get a loan. If you aren't approved, our staff will give you tips on some things that you can do to get approved in the future, and always try to find another option that could work for you in the meantime.
Don't be worried about what the loan officer may think of you, your credit, your situation, or that one medical bill that went to collections — our staff doesn't judge. We want to provide loans and we want to find something that works for you, your family, and your budget. Especially with the Drive Happy loan — if you already have an auto loan, it is easier for us to refinance it than it was to get the loan the first time around. And, why would you pay more for the same car (or credit card, house, etc.) if you don't have to?
Have questions about loans? Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org and Verity will address them in upcoming columns.