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The number of loan products have increased over the past 20 years as economic necessity and a demanding public in need of specialization to solve financial circumstances. From personal loans, educational loans, business loans and even municipal loans. The entities that took part in the creation of the various financial products are actuaries, risk management professionals, “information and informatic engineers” and Wall Street amongst others. It was necessary to create, enhance or break down for better or for worse loan services and products to keep money fluid in a diverse marketplace that required funds to address niche demographics.

  • Personal Loans

Signature Loans – A signature loan is just as it sounds. One applies for a loan and gives a signature on a promissory note to repay the loan in a certain amount of time. That amount of time is called a “loan term ” and may be from six months to five years. Signature loans usually require good credit and the criteria for loan approval are mostly based on the borrower’s credit and and to a lesser degree on assets. Not all signature loans have the same parameters for qualifications. Some loans may require the borrower even with good credit to account for assets to show the lending institution for underwriting purposes. The institution may or may not place a lien on the assets but nevertheless wants to have documentation proving that there are indeed financial or physical assets owned by the borrower. Signature loans usually come with lower interest rates than other types of consumer loans like payday loans, credit card advances, title loans and some car loans. More on these topics later. Who are the lenders in signature loans? They range from large subsidiaries of auto manufacturers to banks, savings and loan institutions, finance companies and payday loan companies.

Credit Card Loans – Credit Card loans or cash advances from credit cards are another form of personal loans. These quick loans are more readily available to the general public and does not require a credit check. To obtain the initial card more than likely required a credit check or at least the process of identification for secured credit cards. Credit card loans or advances usually come with higher interest rates and also other fees for having access to the cash. Various entities allow access to the credit card cash advances from bank tellers, check cashing facilities and automated teller machines (ATMs). The fees vary based on source used to access the funds. To lower the fees for cash advances some use check cashing facilities to have the card charged and receive cash back in turn for not having to incur the fees of ATM machines as cards are assessed a fee twice; first by the ATM company and also their bank. The interest rates on credit card loans or advances are usually higher than signature loans. There are some states that have usury laws that have lower interest rates on credit cards. The loan or advance on a credit card is not a “term loan” as with most signature loans. It is more or less a line of credit the borrower has access to when they need it as long as there are funds available on the credit card. Interest on consumer loans are no longer tax deductible as in previous years. They were designed for short term borrowing needs but many have come to use their credit cards as a regular source of funds in tight economic times or between paychecks.

Wedding Loans – A relatively new form of loan to carve out a niche for the lending industry and meet the needs of the increasing costs of weddings is the Wedding Loan. Because of the expense of weddings which can range into six figures, it sometimes requires a personal loan or even a business loan of the families involved to provide a proper wedding. Wedding loans can be secured (using assets for collateral) or unsecured (signature loans) to obtain funds for the ever growing need to pay for the escalating wedding costs and all the various services and products that a successful matrimonial ceremony would need. The credit criteria and the term may vary based on the amount needed and financial status of the people involved.

Payday or Cash Advance Loans is a fast growing market because it usually requires the least of credit criteria used for loan approvals. One can have bad credit for a quick and instant loan. Just having proof of income, proof of identity and a checking account is all that is necessary to secure funds. Even today many have checking accounts without checks one can still obtain a cash advance by asking their bank to produce a one time check to give to the payday loan agency. Many payday loan companies and stores can get approval with no faxing of documents as they utilize other means for proof of income. Although payday loans come with very high annualized interest rates they sometimes are the only source of emergency cash loans for those in need.

Automotive, Motorcycle, RV (recreational vehicle) and Boat Loans – These personal consumer loans are usually not signature only loans but asset based loans. In other words a financial lien is placed against the asset to secure a loan to purchase or refinance the car, boat et al. These consumer loans may sometimes require a down payment of five to twenty-five percent to secure enjoyment and use of ownership. Because these are not funds that are already available as with credit cards they come with a “loan term” from one to six years depending on the choices of the consumer, the marketplace and the credit status. The interest rates can range from very low usually offered by manufacturers of cars, motorcycles, RV’s (recreational vehicles) and boats to very high if the borrower uses a credit card, a finance company or a “buy here – pay here” lender – or the car dealer who finances the purchase of the car by giving the borrower a term of months and years to pay the balance of the loan off.

  • Business Loans

SBA (Small Business Administration) Loans are loans that are given to small businesses which are not able to qualify for a loan from a financial institution for various reasons from lack of business history, lack of collateral to “secure” the loan or not having an adequate credit history. The SBA is not a direct lender but acts as an underwriter on behalf of the bank that funds the loan for the business entity. If the borrower defaults on the loan the SBA will pay the bank a percentage of the balance for taking the financial risk to loan the funds to the business. There are various types of SBA loans which will not be covered in this article but a future article will explain in more detail.

Conventional Business Loans are loans that are either unsecured meaning no asset is used to approve the loan or secured and called “asset based loans” where assets from inventory, equipment, accounts receivable or real estate are used for underwriting for loan approval. Conventional business loans are given to business entities that have great banking relationships, established business credit history with trade lines with other businesses they do business with and good standing with various credit reporting entities like Dun & Bradstreet. There are short term loans with interest only payments with the balance due at the end of the loan usually referred to as a “Balloon Loan”. There are also longer term loans that are fully amortized (principal and interest in each payment) paid over one to five years or more.

Equipment Leasing is a financial instrument which technically is not a loan. Meaning based on tax ramifications and who owns the equipment – leasing is just that – leasing an asset owned by another entity. Leases are usually from large corporations or a bank. The lease term can vary from one to five years or more and there usually are tax benefits to the business entity in leasing new or used equipment.

Equipment Sale Leaseback is a transaction to use equipment that is already owned by the business or municipal entity to secure funds for the present need for operations. The term can vary from one to five years and the amount of funds can vary based on credit history and a percentage of the fair market value of the equipment. The company then in turn leases the equipment back in usually a monthly payment. The company or the lessee normally has different choices on what they want to do with the equipment at the end of the term. They can roll the lease transaction into newer more updated equipment or software. They can buy the equipment for one dollar or ten percent of the fair market value of the equipment.More and more companies are leasing today as opposed to paying cash or using bank lines or loans.

Merchant Cash Advance is used by businesses that need fast cash and can’t qualify or don’t want to go through the process of getting bank approval for needed funds. A Merchant Cash Advance is also not a loan product but it is the selling of assets or credit card receipts at a discount. In other words the Merchant Cash Advance company buys the credit card receipts and then attaches a fee usually every time the business “batches”, settles or closes the day’s or week’s sales until the funds advanced are paid off. There is no term with merchant cash advances as it is not a loan so there is no set payment amount or period. The paying off of the advanced funds vary based on a the credit and debit card transactions of the day or week.

Factoring Accounts Receivable Invoices enables a business entity that normally has to wait 30 days or longer to be paid by other businesses or governmental entities. Again factoring is not technically a loan but a selling of invoices at a discount for cash now. In a typical transaction the company applies with a Factoring Company and the company looks primarily at the credit of the other business or governmental entity that the company is doing business with. Based on that as long as the client of the company is a solvent business or government agency the invoices are bought and funds are dispensed to the business usually within three days of due diligence on the company they are transacting business with. In other words the funds are dispensed after there is a credit check and processing of the other company. The dollar amount that is advanced can vary from fifty percent of the invoice to eighty or ninety percent depending on various factors such as the size of the invoice to the credit criteria of the other company or governmental entity whether it is a city, county, state or federal agency.

Medical Factoring is a financial transaction that benefits medical entities like hospitals, clinics and various health care professionals that have to wait to receive funds for services performed on patients. Like Factoring and Merchant Cash Advances Medical Factoring is the selling of assets in this case invoices for cash now. In many instances the health care industry receives payment from third party entities like insurance companies, Medicaid and Medicare and state entities that provide funds for those in need of medical procedures. The medical facility or professional in turns sells the invoice(s) on a on going basis or one time for cash now. Once there is an interest is selling the receivables then a Factor steps into analyze the billing so that funds can be advanced. This process can vary in length but is usually shorter in length than the process of getting bank financing.

Contract and Purchase Order Funding allows companies to bid on large projects for governmental agencies, hospitals, universities, prison systems and municipalities or also to sell to larger corporations even if the business does not have the credit or bank approval or the wherewithal to service or fulfill a large contract order. Similar to Factoring which works hand in hand with Purchase Order Funding it is not a loan but a simultaneous transaction that involves advancing funds based on the credit of the governmental agency or larger company and the size of the contract. The funds that are advanced are for the cost in completing the order of products or performing services. So the profit that will be gained is not advanced but the costs as in raw and finished material, transportation, production, labor, expertise and any other costs involved in completing the contract. Once the contract is completed or once an invoice is ready to be sent to the client a factoring company which is sometimes owned by the same company buys the invoice at a discount and the funds that would normally be advanced to the company are usually used to settle the amount advanced for the material and other services that were needed to complete the order. Contract and Purchase Order Funding usually requires large transaction amounts as opposed to factoring that can be utilized for invoices as small as one hundred dollars. With the use of Contract and Purchase Order Funding companies that were locked out of the process of bidding on large contract s may become players in multi-million dollar deals.

Commercial Real Estate Sale Leasebacks are similar to Equipment Sale Leasebacks featured in this article. Instead of utilizing owned equipment to secure cash when bank borrowing is not wanted or not available the commercial real estate is used to access funds now. This can vary from office buildings, medical buildings, retail franchises, industrial buildings and manufacturing to large utility plants. This frees up cash “locked” away in real estate. Many entities find that at the present time the business they are in whether it is retail, manufacturing or another field that the holding of commercial real estate is not in their best financial interest for now. They prefer to put to use funds for their industry. So a retailer selling retails goods decides to focus on the retail operations and to lease the space because that real estate when factored into a myriad of calculations does not fit their financial goals during the present time. Yes the ownership of commercial real estate is an asset and can be used as a security for a loan but may also be viewed as a fixed non-performing entity that does not meet the needs of the business, organization, group or individual that owns the building. Commercial Real Estate Sale Leasebacks are another form of getting access to funds and has increased over the years.

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There are many reasons why consumers choose to go through the auto loan refinance process, but many often fail to fully understand the process of refinancing a vehicle and pursue it just because they want to get a lower monthly payment.

It may be the case that current tough economic times have got you in a tough spot leaving you unable to afford your current payment, or you simply want to lower your monthly payment so you have more money to spend on other bills or monthly expenses. Then an auto loan refinance can help you achieve a lower monthly payment.

Current interest rates are at all new low levels due to the swing in recent market conditions, so now may be the perfect opportunity for you if you are considering an auto loan refinance.

Auto Loan Refinance Defined

An auto refinance loan is a loan that aims to pay off an existing loan more effectively by providing a lower interest rate, reducing the monthly loan premium that the borrower is responsible for, and reducing the overall costs that the borrower ends up paying above and beyond the initial value of the loan.

Borrowers can refinance their vehicles by going through their current lender for the new loan, or they can research other lenders to see who has the best terms based on current market conditions.

Should You Refinance Your Auto?

Before you jump into the process of refinancing your vehicle, it might be a good idea to assess your particular situation in order to identify whether or not refinancing is the right decision for you. The decision you make will depend on what your goals are from a borrowing standpoint.

You should consider refinancing if:

You would like to get a lower interest rate in order to reduce overall interest costs on your loan. As mentioned before, interest rates are at all new lows. This means that a new loan with the same terms will cost less when all is said and done because of the lower interest rates. If your current loan has a 6% interest rate, and you now qualify for a 3% loan with the same terms, you will save dramatically on interest costs when your loan is finally paid off if you refinance instead of sticking with your current loan.

You might also consider an auto loan refinance if you want to reduce your monthly payment. Your monthly payment can be reduced if you are able to get a new loan with a lower interest rate, you extend the payoff period of the loan, or you get a lower interest rate and extend the period of the loan. Keep in mind that simply extending the period of the loan with all other factors remaining the same may increase your total interest cost in the long run.

How To Refinance Your Car

There are a number of options that you can choose from in order to refinance your current auto loan. The first and perhaps the simplest option would be to contact your current lender to see if they can offer you a better rate on your current loan or if they can simply extend the payoff period of your loan. Going through your current lender would save costs associated with lien transfer fees and would save you the hassle of having to find a new lender.

If you’d rather not stick with your current lender, then you can shop around to find another lender who is willing to offer you the best rates and terms on your new loan. The quickest and easiest way to find a qualified lender with better loan rates is by searching on the internet. There are numerous online lender comparison tools designed to get you in front of multiple lenders in order to compare the different rates and terms that they have available.

Once you locate your lender of choice, then all you have to do is apply for the refinance loan with them. They will normally check your credit score and if you are approved for the auto loan refinance, your new lender will pay off your current loan and your title will be transferred to them.

Calculating The Cost Of Auto Loan Refinance

The quickest and easiest way of determining how much it will cost to refinance your current auto loan is to use a refinance auto loan calculator. You simply input the total amount of the loan, the interest rate, the number of months it will take to pay off the loan, and any down payment that you will be making. The end result is the total cost of the new loan that you will be taking on based on the new refinance auto loan rates. You can use the loan calculator to perform the same calculation for your current loan in order to determine whether or not refinancing is more cost effective.

Advantages and Disadvantages Of Refinancing Your Vehicle

There are many advantages and disadvantages of refinancing a vehicle. In order to make the decision on whether or not refinancing makes sense for you, you have to consider the advantages and disadvantages and whether or not they apply in your particular situation.

Advantages

Lower Interest Rate – One of the biggest benefits of refinancing that consumers aim to take advantage of during certain economic conditions is lower interest rates. Lower interest rates on loans help save the borrower money in the long run. This is due to the fact that lower interest rates result in lower overall interest costs on the loan.

Reduce Monthly Payment – Another important advantage of the auto loan refinance is that it can help you reduce your monthly payment. Borrowers can reduce their monthly payment either by extending the term of the loan or by getting a lower interest rate.

Stress Relief – Often times borrowers enjoy lower stress levels when they are able to refinance and get a lower monthly payment. If you have seen a drop in income, have more bills to pay, or simply need more money for other expenses each month, refinancing can help give you the financial relief that you need.

Disadvantages

The auto loan refinance can also have disadvantages that you might want to consider before going through the process.

Increase Interest Cost – If you refinance simply to extend the term of your loan and get a lower monthly payment, the auto loan refinance will most likely end up costing more in the long run due to higher interest costs. This would be true if you refinanced with a loan that has the same interest rate and a longer payoff period.

If you are looking to refinance your vehicle even if your credit history is not great, you should find out what your credit score is. You can find guidance on what your credit report and score means on the page below:

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