HFLA lends money interest-free to responsible individuals in need.
A Successful Applicant
- Can demonstrate a genuine need.
- Has been unable to receive a loan from a conventional source.
- Will be able to repay the loan in monthly installments beginning immediately following the granting of the loan.
- Has one or more suitable guarantors for the loan.
Types of Loans
- Home (i.e. bills, mortgage, roof, furnace, plumbing, driveway, sidewalk, furniture, storm or fire damage, etc.)
- Medical & Dental Expenses (treatments not covered by insurance)
- Work (i.e., transportation or new business expenses)
- Family Expenses (i.e., life-cycle events, divorce related costs, childcare, etc.)
- Education (i.e., tuition, fees, books, supplies, career training, certification courses. uniforms, college and graduate school assistance, etc.)
Loan applicants must live in Northeast Ohio and have an income that enables them to repay the loan. The maximum loan amount is $10,000 (each guarantor is liable for the full amount of the loan.) One guarantor is required for loans up to $5,000. Two guarantors are required for loans over $5,000. The guarantors must also live in Northeast Ohio, have an income and good credit. A guarantor can only serve as such on one active loan at a time.
The following materials must be provided to be considered for a loan:
- Completed application
- Proof of current income for applicant and guarantor
- Prior year’s tax return (1040 or W2 form) for applicant and guarantor
- Completed monthly budget form for applicant and guarantor
- Letter of explanation for loan request
- Copies of bills/invoices to be paid or other documentation
- Completed guarantor application forms and information
After a complete application is received an interview is scheduled with the applicant and the Loan Committee. The repayment schedule for these loans is as follows:
- Loans up to $3,000 must be repaid within 15 months, first payment due a month after receipt of funds.
- Loans for $3,001 to $5,000 must be repaid within 24 months, first payment due a month after receipt of funds.
- Loans for $5,001 to $10,000 must be repaid within 36 months, first payment due a month after receipt of funds.
All loan checks are issued directly to creditors.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to be Jewish to apply for a loan with HFLA?
No, you do not need to be Jewish to apply for a loan with HFLA. HFLA is a non-sectarian organization. HFLA accepts applications from anybody who lives in Northeast Ohio and is not able to acquire a loan through conventional methods.
What kind of income level must I have to apply for a loan?
We do not require a specific income level. We require that you have a monthly income and that we see that there is an ability to repay the loan. We will look at your monthly expenses versus your income, as well as your credit history.
What details should I include on the monthly expense form?
Your monthly expense form must include all payments you make during the month, even if you are delinquent on those payments. It must be filled out as accurately and fully as possible to be accepted for a loan application. The expense form can be found with the applications that you can download.
What is a guarantor?
A guarantor is defined as a person who agrees to repay a borrower’s loan, in the event that the borrower defaults. A guarantor is not required to make payments on the loan, unless the borrower defaults or is no longer able to make payments.
Must I have a guarantor?
All our loans require guarantors (please see application information as to how many guarantors are needed per amount). Guarantors are our one source of back-up if a borrower defaults on his/her loan. Guarantors must sign a legal document that they are aware of this fact.
What criteria must a guarantor have?
A guarantor is someone who has good credit and enough monthly income to pay his or her own expenses in addition to our repayment obligations in the event that the borrower defaults on his/her loan. We want to see that we would not be putting an unreasonable financial burden upon the guarantor if we needed to approach him/her for a payment.
How do I get an application form?
You can print an application form off of our website: www.interestfree.org . If you do not have internet access, once you have clarified that you have the guarantors you need and can meet our other qualifications, we will be happy to mail you forms.
What documentation do I need to provide?
You must fill out the application forms completely and provide all of the following documentation.
- PROOF OF CURRENT INCOME
- INCOME TAX RETURN
- COMPLETED MONTHLY BUDGET FORM
- NOTE OF EXPLANATION FOR LOAN REQUEST
- COPIES OF BILLS/INVOICES TO BE PAID OR OTHER DOCUMENTATION
Your guarantor(s) must complete the guarantor information form and send in the following documentation:
- PROOF OF CURRENT INCOME
- TAX RETURN OR W-2 FORM
Do I need to provide identification?
In compliance with the Patriot Act, we require 2 forms of picture identification.
Do I need to come into the office?
You can mail, fax or bring your application into the office. If you are coming to the office and would like to speak with someone, we ask that you call and set up an appointment. We are a small staff and have varied hours.
What happens once my application is in?
Once a completed application is in, the office will process it. We run credit reports on you and your guarantor(s), and evaluate all your forms. If, after reviewing your application and documentation, we determine that we need more information or documentation to evaluate your application, we will contact you. Once the application is complete, we will make you an appointment to meet with the loan committee.
How long until I know if my loan is approved?
Our loan committee meets once or twice a month depending on the need. If no additional follow-up is required, you will usually know if the loan was approved within a day or two.
Once a loan is approved, you will be contacted and arrangements will be made to get a promissory note signed by you and a guaranty document signed by your guarantor(s). Once the documents are signed, the loan can be issued.
If my loan is approved do you write the check to me?
We do not write checks directly to our applicants. We will write checks to your source of need (i.e. orthodontist office for braces, contractors for home repair, mortgage companies for delinquent payments, payday loan companies for payday loans).
What is the payback time period?
Payback begins the month after we loan the money and is as follows:
15 months for up to $3,000
24 months for above $3,000 – $5,000
36 months for above $5,000 – $10,000 (our maximum loan amount)
Can I have payments directly debited from my paycheck or make online payments?
Unfortunately, we are unable to offer these services at this time. Borrowers can mail us a check each month, drop payment off at our offices, give us postdated checks or can set up automatic bill pay with your bank to have them mail us a monthly payment.
What happens if my check is returned from the bank?
Any fees we accrue from returned checks will be added to your account. If we have more than one returned check you may be asked to send us monthly money orders instead of checks.
Can I pay off my loan early?
You can always pay off your loan early. We require our clients to make their regular monthly payments and recommend if they have extra income available to pay it towards any debts they have that might accrue interest before they would increase our payment.
What happens when I pay off my loan?
Once a loan is paid off and month’s end reports are processed, we will mail you your paid off promissory note as proof of the loan being repaid.
Can I make a donation to HFLA?
We are always happy to accept donations. Donations are how our organization exists and continues to run.
Can I make a donation online?
You can make a donation online at our website www.interestfree.org .
What makes education loans different than your regular loans?
Full time education loans are repaid at a lower rate for the duration of time that the applicant is a student. When the applicant is no longer enrolled in school, his/her loan is due in full or turned into a regular loan.
What courses of study are eligible for education loans?
HFLA offers education loans for undergraduate, graduate, technical/vocational, and certificate programs. You may borrow up to $5,000 at one time, for a maximum amount of $10,000 throughout your undergraduate studies. Likewise, you may borrow up to $5,000 at a time for a maximum amount of $10,000 throughout your graduate studies. HFLA requires one co-signer on all education loans.
Does my GPA affect my ability to get a loan?
Your GPA does not affect your ability to get a loan. HFLA Student loans are need based, not merit based.
What documents do you need?
We will need to see your letter of acceptance at the school, tuition, scholarship and grant information and a copy of your FAFSA document. We also request proof of income and the most recently filed tax return for your co-signer.