Loans - Shopping & Decisions

When and How to Shop for A Loan

When you're in the market for a loan, it is best to start with research into current interest rates. Begin by looking into national rates. National rates serve as a foundation or base for all interest rates. However, interest rates vary according to city, locality, bank, or lender and can be more than the national rate, depending upon the specifics of the loan program.

Next, do a little research to learn of any recent rate changes, as well as changes that are anticipated. Often, financial experts predict these changes in advance. Such information can be readily found in newspapers, finance journals, and on related websites.

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If you learn that a rate increase is likely, it is wise to act quickly to secure your loan at a lower rate. By contrast, if rates are expected to decrease, waiting to apply after the rates are lowered is a good idea. If you find that there is no pending interest rate change, you can shop for a loan right away or wait for a bit, without any significant difference.

Once you've made the decision to apply for a loan, take the time to shop around. Request quotes from a variety of banks and lenders to ensure you get the best rate possible as well as the best loan terms. Thanks to the power of the Internet, you can even shop for loans from online lenders, right from the privacy and comfort of your home or office.

How Loan Decisions Are Made

Often, large corporate banks or lending companies appoint a loan committee to make loan decisions. This group of individuals is charged with carefully considering your application, including your credit score, existing debts, and income and ultimately making the decision of whether or not to approve your loan request. Loan committees can vary in size, from a two-person team to a much larger group of people.

When it comes to smaller banks and other types of lending companies, decision-making arrangements vary. In some cases, loan decisions are made by a small group of individuals, while in others one person may have the primary decision-making responsibility. Loan officers, in some lending companies, use computer technology to determine loan eligibility, while in others loan officers are charged with deciding, in conjunction with managers, whether or not to approve loans.

It is very important, in requesting a loan, to make sure your application is completed with attention to detail. Mistakes and omissions can, at best, cause a delayed response and, at worst, cause your application to be denied. Loan officers, in many lending companies, are expected to assist with the application process as well, ensuring that applications are completed correctly and all required information is supplied.

The time required to process loan applications varies widely. In some cases, decisions are made within hours, while in others the decision-making process may take up to a week to complete. Generally loan decisions are final, but some lending companies allow applicants to appeal denial, if they can show good cause.

By Luke Ashworth

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