Step 1– Determine if you are eligible for an HFLA loan.

 

To qualify you must for an HFLA loan, you must be a resident of Northeast Ohio, you must show proof of income, you must be unable to access a conventional bank loan, and in some instances, you must be able to apply with a guarantor or a co-signer.

HFLA of Northeast Ohio looks at each application as a unique application. Every person/family has different income, and also has different expenses. Our programmatic staff must be able to verify your income and to see that you have the ability to pay your regular monthly expenses in addition to a loan payment to us. If you have concerns about your income eligibility, please call the office at 216-378-9042 or email us at team@interestfree.org.

When we say that HFLA of Northeast Ohio’s loans are designed for people who are unable to access traditional financing, we mean that a person may have been denied a loan through their bank or credit union. If you are unsure contact our program staff to see if you qualify. If we receive an application that looks like a person may be eligible for traditional financing, we may require you to apply with your financial institution first. Our funds are limited and must be used for those who truly cannot access other means of financing.

Credit is just one factor in our loan qualification process. We do not have a specific score that we are looking for—rather, our staff looks at our applicants’ credit to verify their debt obligations and to see what their repayment history has been in the past. Generally, we look to see that our applicants make an effort to pay their credit obligations on time. If we have concerns or questions about things on your credit report, we will contact you for more information.

Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, and Summit are the 8 counties make up HFLA of Northeast Ohio’s service area.

Step 2 – Find the HFLA loan that is right for you.

 

HFLA offer 5 types of interest-free loans to address emergencies, education expenses, small business growth, or other needs. You can review the loan types available on the Loan Overview page. Applications can be downloaded under the Apply tab.

If you are unable to print, complete, and scan the loan application, you may request an electronic submission form: team@interestfree.org.

Step 3 – Complete and submit application materials.

 

If you are applying for a standard or education loan, you are required to apply with a guarantor or co-signer. Your application cannot be processed until we receive both your loan application and the guarantor or co-signer forms. Loan applications and guarantor or co-signer forms can be downloaded from loan program pages under the Apply tab.

Please note that spouses and members of your household cannot be considered as guarantors. Spouses must complete the application as a co-borrower. If your guarantor is married, their spouse must complete and sign the guarantor form. Your guarantor can send their completed and signed form directly to HFLA, or return them to you.

Completed loan materials may be sent via:

Email: team@interestfree.org

Fax: 216-378-9007

Mail: 23300 Chagrin Blvd, Ste 204, Beachwood, OH 44122

If you are unable to print, complete, and scan the loan application, you may request an electronic submission form: team@interestfree.org.

Our education loans require one cosigner. Cosigners share a joint responsibility to the debt, and we can consider the cosigner’s income if the student does not have any. Cosigners may live in the same household as the applicant (ex: mom can cosign for a child; a spouse/partner—with income—can cosign for their spouse/partner).

Our standard loans require at least one guarantor or guarantors. Guarantors must live in a separate household and must have income and the ability to repay the debt, in the event that the applicant defaults on the loan.

We make business loans directly to the business. Any owner who owns 20% or more of that business will sign a personal guaranty and will still be responsible for that debt, even if the business ceases to exist.

HFLA of Northeast Ohio is a nonprofit organization. We do not charge interest or make money off of our loans, and we rely heavily on our loans being repaid so that we can make new loans to people in need.

Guarantors and cosigners are our one form of “backup” in the unlikely event that a borrower defaults on a loan. We have had several guarantors/cosigners who have paid off loans because the person that they guaranteed the loan for/cosigned the loan for fell ill, experienced extreme financial setbacks, or passed away. HFLA is grateful for our guarantors and cosigners, who have allowed us to exist for over 100 years.

Step 4 – Wait for follow up instructions from an HFLA program staff member.

 

A typical waiting period after a completed application and guarantor or co-signer forms are received is 10 business days. We work hard to make sure that everyone who has submitted an application has equal attention. It is not necessary to follow up with us after your application is submitted. If we have questions or are missing information, we will contact you promptly.

If you are applying for a standard or education loan, you are required to sign with a guarantor or co-signer. Your application cannot be processed until we receive both your loan application and the guarantor or co-signer forms.

Step 5 – Loan Decision

 

After your loan application has been processed, it will be reviewed by a loan committee for a decision. If the application is denied, you will be notified via email or phone. If the loan is approved you (and your co-applicant, and guarantor where applicable) will be contacted to fill out forms and at this time will need to return those forms and a copy of your state ID or Driver’s License. Once these forms are completed, checks will be issued.