Saturday, February 7, 2015

Will You Be My Co-Pilot? 5 Important Things to Know Before Co-Signing on a Loan

When a loan applicant lacks the sufficient financial backing and creditworthiness to qualify for a loan on their own, a bank or lending institution may recommend that they find a strong co-borrower to back their loan. This may commonly occur if an individual has an insufficient credit history, poor credit or lack of assets or income to qualify fully. A relative or close friend may have recently asked you to be a co-signer on a loan that they are having difficulty being approved for on their own. While you may be inclined to sign on the loan simply to help someone you care about out, it is important to understand how this will impact your life and finances. Consider the following before agreeing to co-sign on a loan: 

Responsibility for the Debt

When you co-sign on the loan, it is important to note that you are equally responsible for the debt as the primary borrower. This means that if the primary borrower is not able to make the payments as agreed, due to job loss or another issue, you will be responsible for the debt. You essentially will be taking on this debt just as if you are the primary borrower or applicant on the loan request.

The Impact on Your Credit Scores

According to the professionals at Power Finance Texas in Houston who specialize in payday loans, any loan that you co-sign on likely will show up on your credit report and will impact your credit scores. Factors related to new credit inquiries, unseasoned accounts, the amount of debt owed to creditors and even late payments for this account all have the ability to negatively influence your credit scores.

Consider Why the Person Did Not Qualify on Their Own

Because you will be financially responsible for the debt and because it can impact your finances and credit scores, it is important to have a full understanding about why the person did not qualify for the loan on their own. If the person did not qualify, the bank essentially is stating that the person lacks the creditworthiness to qualify on their own, and this may be a warning to you. For example, if the individual has a history of being irresponsible with finances, you may think again about co-signing. On the other hand, if the person has been responsible but simply fell on hard times, due to job loss or illness for example, you may be more inclined to help out.

Your Ability to Qualify for Financing in the Future

Even if you want to help out a friend or family member, it is important that you think about your own finances and goals. Your credit scores and debt-to-income ratio will be impacted by the debt that you take on. In some cases, this additional debt may make it harder for you to qualify for a loan in the near future. If you have plans to apply for a car loan, a home mortgage or another type of loan, you may think carefully about how this new debt will impact your plans.

Being Targeted by Debt Collectors

In the event the primary borrower defaults on the loan, keep in mind that debt collectors may target both you and the primary borrower. This means that you may receive collections calls and letters until the loan is returned to good standing or paid off. Furthermore, collections on this account may impact your credit rating.

There are instances when co-signing on a loan is the right thing to do. You may feel comfortable with the risks and financial impact to you with co-signing, and it may not impact your future goals and plans. However, it is important that you fully understand the impact of co-signing and to ensure that the risk to you and your plans is minimal before you take on this additional financial responsibility.

1 comment:

  1. Helping someone by borrowing money is one thing co-signing a loan is another. When you borrow money you know your exposure which cannot be more than the money you borrowed. But when you co-sign a loan you are potentially taking out a loan that you have no control of or benefit from. The lender can actually come after only you for the repayment of the loan. They don't have to exhaust all the avenues with the original borrower before they come after you. It is like offering an open check to someone. I have seen many a times loans ballooning to twice the amount with late payments and penalties. For me, the person you are co-signing with must be worth all these troubles. He/she must be someone you will have no hesitation to offer one of your kidneys, like a child or sibling.


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