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First Midwest Bank Personal Loan Review

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APR

7.17%
To
12.87%

Credit Req.

680

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

12 to 60

months

Origination Fee

$100

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With locations in Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana, First Midwest Bank is a great option for borrowers that are looking for personal loan and want the comfort of working with a traditional brick-and-mortar bank.... Read More

First Midwest Bank personal loan details
 

Fees and penalties

  • Terms: 12 to 60 months
  • APR Range: 7.17% to 12.87%
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $25,000
  • Time to funding: Decision can be made within 24 hours; funding can take three business days
  • Hard pull/soft pull: Soft Pull
  • Origination fee: None
  • Prepayment fee: None
  • Late payment fee: 5% or $10, whichever is greater
  • Other fees: $100 documentation fee

First Midwest Bank is a brick-and-mortar institution that has a personal loan available online with competitive rates and limited fees. This is unique in the online lending space. Often, it’s the online-only lenders with no physical locations that have the best deals on rates and fees — they’re able to pass on the savings from not having the overhead of physical branches.

First Midwest Bank gives you the best of both worlds — affordable loan products and in-person banking support if that’s something you value.

Eligibility requirements

  • Minimum credit score: 680
  • Minimum credit history: Must have good credit to qualify with at least five years of history
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 43%

In order to qualify for a First Midwest Bank loan, you need to:

  • Be at least 18 years or older
  • Be able to provide a current ID
  • Be able to provide a tax identification number or a Social Security number
  • Provide proof of employment or income

The First Midwest Bank lending area includes Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.

As mentioned above, First Midwest Bank isn’t in the business of lending money to the subprime market. You need to have good credit or better to qualify. You also need five years or more of credit history. Your credit history should have no bankruptcies, foreclosures, repossessions or other adverse history.

Applying for a personal loan from First Midwest Bank

The application process for First Midwest Bank can be done online or over the phone. Here’s how it works:

Go to the First Midwest Bank website.On the loan page it gives you the option to apply online or to call and speak with a loan specialist.

Provide your information. You’ll be asked identifying information about yourself like your name, age, address and Social Security number. You also need to tell the bank why you need the loan and how much you need.

Wait for a decision and get funding. The decision on your application may be made within 24 hours. The application process and funding of your loan may take three business days, depending on how long it takes you to submit supporting documents for the application.

Pros and cons of a First Midwest Bank personal loan

Pros:

Cons:

  • Low rates. First Midwest Bank has a competitive interest rate range of 7.17% to 12.87% APR. Again, you need to have good credit to qualify — the lowest rates usually go to borrowers with the best credit.
  • Low fees. There’s the $100 documentation fee that you pay at application. Otherwise, there aren’t any fees to worry about here.
  • Manage your loan and bank accounts in one place. If you qualify for a loan, you can choose to handle your other banking needs all in one place because First Midwest Bank is a full-service financial institution. Checking and savings accounts are available through online banking.
  • Quick decisions and funding. A decision on your loan can be made in one day and funding can happen within three business days.
  • Soft Pull: There’s no soft pull prequalification available. You’ll have to go through with the full soft pull in order to apply for a loan.
  • Good credit required. First Midwest Bank is looking for borrowers with good credit of 680 or better. If your credit score is below this range, we have some alternatives that you may be eligible for in our roundup list. We also have some options to consider below.
  • Limited loan amounts. You can borrow between $5,000 to $25,000. If you need to borrow less than $5,000 or more than $25,000, this loan may not be the one for you.
  • Limited service area. You won’t be able to qualify for this loan if you don’t live in a state where First Midwest Bank currently offers service.

Who’s the best fit for a First Midwest Bank personal loan

The First Midwest Bank is going to be best for someone who lives in the bank’s service area and can meet credit history conditions. If you’re eligible, this is one of the most affordable loans around. There are no origination fees or prepayment penalty fees. Interest rates are competitive, and you can get a quick decision. With that said, borrowers who need a large sum of money ($25,000+) may find the loan amounts offered by First Midwest bank restricting.

Keep in mind, this loan does require a soft pull. You cannot get a rate quote from the bank without a hard inquiry. Still, it shouldn’t deter you entirely from the loan. An inquiry could dock your credit score a few points, but taking the temporary hit may be worthwhile if it’s to qualify for a low-cost personal loan. You can learn more about what credit inquiries do to your credit score here.

If your credit score or history doesn’t qualify you for this loan, there are other options to consider that accepts borrowers with credit scores in the low- to mid-600s. You can also review the best online personal loan options for people with different credit profiles here. This list also includes a few lenders that do let you prequalify for a loan with just a soft inquiry.

Alternative personal loan options

Upgrade

Upgrade
APR

7.99%
To
35.89%

Credit Req.

620

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

1.50% - 6.00%

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Upgrade is an online lender that offers fairly priced personal loans for a term of either 36 or 60 months.... Read More.


Upgrade lets you borrow from $1,000 to $50,000. Unlike First Midwest Bank, there’s an origination fee. However, you can borrow with a lower credit score and there’s a soft pull prequalification process available. The low end of the Upgrade interest rate range is competitive, but the best rates are typically given to those with the best credit. It can take up to four business days to get funding.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs®

Marcus by Goldman Sachs®
APR

5.99%
To
28.99%

Credit Req.

Varies

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 to 72

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

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on LendingTree’s secure website

Marcus by Goldman Sachs® offers personal loans for up to $40,000 for debt consolidation and credit consolidation. ... Read More


Marcus by Goldman Sachs® is a no origination fee loan also with competitive interest rates available. There’s no set minimum credit score requirement, but more than 80% of borrowers last year had a credit score of at least 660, according to Goldman Sachs’ most recent annual report. You can borrow from $3,500 to $40,000. This is another product with a soft pull prequalification available. It can take one to four business days to get funding from this loan.

Avant

APR

9.95%
To
35.99%

Credit Req.

Varies

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 60

months

Origination Fee

Up to 4.75%

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on LendingTree’s secure website

Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC.

Avant is an online lender that offers personal loans ranging from $2,000 to $35,000. ... Read More


Avant has an interest rate range that starts slightly higher than the competitors on our list, but the qualifying credit score range welcomes those with less than stellar credit. Loan amounts range from $2,000 to $35,000. You can prequalify with a soft pull here as well. The Avant loan has an origination fee of up to 4.75% to consider when factoring in costs. You can get funding in as little as one business day.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor here

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Personal Loans

Here’s Why You Should Avoid Cosigning a Loan for a Friend

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

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You’re in a tricky situation: your friend, who you love and care about deeply, has come to you asking for your help getting a loan that they desperately need. You know the loan could benefit your friend, but you’re also unsure of the risks behind cosigning a loan.

The most important step you can take is to learn why cosigning a loan for a friend is rarely a good idea. That way, you can understand why you probably should avoid it.

Should you cosign a loan for a friend?

In general, you may want to avoid cosign a loan for a friend. Here’s why:

  • You become legally responsible for the loan. In the eyes of the lender, the full loan amount is 100% yours. That means if your friend doesn’t make payments, the two of you will be held responsible.
  • Your credit score could be affected. Should your friend miss even one payment, your credit score could be negatively impacted since the loan is considered to be in your name too. And if the borrower defaults on the loan completely, it could impact your credit score even more.
  • You could damage your friendship. Consider the risks to the relationship with the person you are cosigning a loan for if they are unable to pay back the loan. Is the risk of ruining your friendship worth it?
  • You could lose personal property. If a loan — such as a personal loan — requires any collateral, such as your car, house or other personal asset, you are at risk of losing your property should your friend default on the loan.

Reasons why you may or may not choose to cosign a loan

Here’s a more comprehensive look at reasons why you might choose not to cosign a loan:

  • You can’t afford the loan. You should not take the risk on of cosigning a loan unless you can afford to pay the loan in its entirety. Otherwise, you could liable in court or even have your assets seized as part of your state’s collection practices.
  • You need a loan for yourself. If you know you will need your own loan soon, cosigning a friend’s loan could prevent you from being eligible for a loan for yourself.
  • You’re concerned about your credit score. If you’ve had a history of bad credit, are trying to build up your own credit or just don’t want to see your credit score negatively affected, you need to be aware that cosigning a loan could hurt your own credit score if your friend misses payments or defaults on the loan all together.
  • Your friend has a history of bad financial decisions. You should know why your friend needs a loan. It’s within your right to decide that you won’t cosign a loan if you don’t agree with how they’ll use loan funds. If your friend tends to rack up debt, you’re also free to explain to your friend that you don’t feel confident they need the added debt.

That being said, there may be a few circumstances where it is acceptable to cosign a loan for a friend. For example:

  • You can afford to pay the loan completely. If you cosign a loan, you are agreeing to be responsible for the loan amount in the event that your friend is unable to pay it. So, if you can afford to pay off the entire loan amount and are willing to do so, you could cosign a loan with less risk of hurting your own finances. Aside from the money you’d be out for the loan amount, of course.
  • The loan is for both of you. If you are purchasing something together, cosigning a loan might be a logical move, as you will both be utilizing the item or asset. For family members, a parent might choose to cosign a loan so their child could potentially consolidate student loan debt at a lower interest rate.
  • You’re willing to take on the risk. Maybe you feel like your friend has no other options, this is a necessary step and you are fully aware of the risks involved. In that case, cosigning a loan is a personal decision that only you can make.

How to protect yourself when cosigning a loan

If you do decide to cosign a loan with a friend or someone else, you should also take steps to protect yourself as much as possible before the loan is enacted. You can minimize your risk by taking actions such as:

  • Don’t put down personal assets as collateral. If you’re willing to cosign on a loan, you shouldn’t wager more than that. Using your home, car or other personal asset as collateral only increases your risk.
  • Establish expectations in advance. You should sit down with your friend to establish expectations for the loan and repayment. It’s helpful if you can set out a plan in writing about the consequences if your friend misses payments or is unable to fully repay the loan.
  • Stay on top of the loan. Although it is recommended that you keep close tabs on the borrower to ensure that they are repaying the loan on time each month, you could also ask the creditor to inform you of any missed or late payments automatically. If the lender has an online system, you and your friend could also share the account information. That way, you could easily log into your account to review payment information.
  • Try negotiating loan terms. Rules will vary by lender and state, but you may be able to negotiate what you’re responsible for as a cosigner, such as limiting your liability to the loan principal balance instead of the full principal and interest amount. You can also try to negotiate responsibility for late fees, attorney fees or accrued court costs.

Other ways of helping your friend

Outside of cosigning a loan for your friend, there may be other ways that you can help, such as:

  • Assisting with a down payment. Perhaps you can’t afford to take on the risk of cosigning an entire loan for your friend, but you may be able to help them put together a down payment so that they may qualify for a conventional loan.
  • Lend them the money directly. To ensure that you would not be legally responsible for your friend’s debt and to avoid possible damage to your own credit score, you could consider lending your friend the money they need directly, either as a lump sum or in installments. It is advisable to get all loan terms in writing and to have the loan contract notarized if you do choose to DIY a loan.

The bottom line

Although you may want to cosign a loan with a friend to help them, taking on the legal responsibility of someone else’s debt is usually not a good idea for most people. Agreeing to become a cosigner means you run the risk of being liable for the loan amount and the possibility of your own credit score taking a negative impact.

You should carefully consider the risks you are willing to take and take steps to minimize them before agreeing to cosign a loan for a friend. In most cases, unless you can fully afford and are willing to pay off the entire loan amount, the cons do outweigh the risk of cosigning on a loan for a friend.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Chaunie Brusie
Chaunie Brusie |

Chaunie Brusie is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Chaunie here

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Should You Use a Personal Loan to Build Credit? What to Consider

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

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If you’ve been trying to build up your personal credit, you may have considered using a personal loan. Taking out a personal loan could show creditors that you can responsibly handle different kinds of debt and follow the terms to which you and your lender have agreed.

But how successful you are depends on your ability to pay the loan back within the given term limits. Here’s what you should consider before taking out a personal loan to build credit.

Pros vs. cons: Using a personal loan to build credit

There are both pros and cons to taking out a personal loan in an attempt to increase your credit score:

Pros

  • Add to your credit mix: A personal loan could help you diversify your credit mix, which accounts for 10% of your FICO score.
  • Stay current on payments: You could use a personal loan to refinance a debt or consolidate debts to a lower interest rate. Doing so could help ensure you stay current on payments, which positively impacts your credit.
  • May not have to put down collateral: An unsecured personal loan doesn’t require you to put up collateral to secure the loan. That means your house or other assets can’t be taken away if you default.
  • Lower your credit utilization ratio: A personal loan can also lower your credit utilization ratio if you pay off your credit card balance with your loan and keep the card open. Credit utilization is important factor in your FICO score, and it is basically the amount you owe divided by the total amount you have available to you. Personal loans don’t count toward it.

Cons

  • Fees, fees, fees: Depending on your credit score, you could be paying hefty interest fees over the length of the loan, in addition to any other fees your lender charges, such as prepayment penalties, late fees and origination fees.
  • Could increase your debt-to-income ratio: Taking out a personal loan could change your debt-to-income ratio. This could make future lenders less likely to let you borrow funds until some, or even most, of your personal loan is paid off.
  • Strict payment schedule: Personal loans are often issued for a period of between 24 to 60 months and offer little flexibility when it comes to adjusting payments. So if you lose your job or face other financial struggles, your lender may be unwilling to work with you to reduce or delay payments.

Is using a personal loan to build credit right for you?

A personal loan might make sense for you if your goal is to diversify your credit mix or lower your credit utilization ratio by paying off a credit card. It’s also a good option if you plan to use the funds at a lower interest rate to pay off other debt that’s charging you a higher interest rate.

A personal loan to build credit might not be a good option if you’re already struggling with paying off debt, if you have no prior credit history or if you could get a credit card with a lower rate of interest instead. If you can’t get a reasonable interest rate, a personal loan might not be a good choice, said David Gokhshtein, a New York-based member of the Forbes Finance Council.

“In most cases, people in this scenario already have lower credit scores, leading to very high interest rates they could be paying off indefinitely,” he said. “If the debt gets sent to a collection agency, it will further damage the person’s credit score.”

That said, it’s important you have a clear picture of your financial situation. Consider the following questions:

  • Is your credit score good enough to qualify for competitive interest rates?
  • Can you afford the cost of a personal loan?
  • Is taking out debt and repaying it with interest worth it to build your credit?
  • Do you have a good use for the funds?

Answering these questions could help you decide whether or not to move forward with this option.

How to take out a personal loan

The first thing you should do if you decide to get a personal loan is to check your credit score. A FICO score of 700, on a range that spans 300 to 850, indicates you have good credit and would be likely eligible for a variety of loan offers, including a personal loan at a reasonable rate of interest. Because FICO scores are seen as an accurate reflection of your creditworthiness, lenders rely on them in 90% of all decisions.

You’ll want to research your options for lenders before committing to a loan, as well. You can use MagnifyMoney’s personal loan marketplace to compare lenders. You may also look to local banks or credit unions.

If possible, apply for preapproval from your top lenders of choice. Preapproval will allow you to see rates and terms you might qualify for with a soft credit check, which won’t affect your credit score.

Consider the following when weighing your loan options:

  • Rates
  • Fees
  • Conditions
  • Lender perks, such as support in case of job loss

Once you decide on a lender, you can submit to a hard credit check to see your final rates and terms. Depending on the lender, you could get loan funds within a few business days.

Others strategies to improving your credit

Consider the following ways to build credit without accumulating any additional debt:

Get a credit builder loan. With this type of loan, the money you borrow is deposited into an interest-bearing account. As you make payments on the debt, your payments are reported to the credit bureaus. Once you pay off your debt, the loan funds and the interest they earned are released to you.

Charge only what you can pay in full each month. If you have a credit card, you could use to work on your credit. Just make sure you pay off the card in full each month. “It is imperative to create and use a simple budget to make sure you follow this rule,” said Freddie Huynh, the San Francisco-based vice president of credit risk analytics at Freedom Financial Network. “Being able to pay your bills on time is the most important factor in the calculation of your credit score, accounting for 35 percent.”

Review your credit reports regularly for accuracy and correct any errors you find. You can access credit reports from each of the three main credit reporting agencies once a year for free at www.annualcreditreport.com. “If any report shows any inaccuracy, follow the directions on each agency’s website to correct it,” Huynh said.

The bottom line

Carefully consider your options before taking out a personal loan. You should have a clear idea of how you’ll use the loan funds and what the total cost of the loan will be. Most importantly, if your credit has been damaged by poor financial habits in the past, you need to consider whether or not a personal loan is only a temporary solution to a larger problem.

“My biggest concern with anyone considering a personal loan to pay off high interest credit cards is that they are focusing on the symptom, not the cause,” said Todd Christensen, the Boise, Idaho-based education manager at Money Fit by DRS. “If the borrower is disciplined, it might make sense; otherwise, debt management through a nonprofit credit counseling agency could make more sense.”

While a personal loan can be one part of the credit building or repairing process, it’s not your only possible solution. In fact, Christensen said taking out a personal loan could be part of a multi-pronged strategy to boosting your credit. Still, a personal loan on its own could help depending on your finances — given that you properly research lenders, stay disciplined during repayment and take extra care of your money throughout the process.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Barbara Balfour
Barbara Balfour |

Barbara Balfour is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Barbara here

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