What is the average loan period?

The maximum loan terms are usually 36 months (3 years). Loan periods are dependent on the total amount borrowed and type of loan.

What documents does the applicant need to submit?

All supporting documents are listed on the first page of each application, and vary by loan type. All applicants are required to provide basic financial information including bank statements and tax forms as well as provide a monthly budget of income and expenses. These documents are used to assess whether or not an HFLA loan is the best path for a potential borrower.

Loan applications can be found on the respective loan page:

Standard Loan

Education Loan

Business Loan

Why do we require some loan recipients to work with financial counselors?

We work closely with financial counselors and coaches and connect potential and current borrowers to their service to ensure that the loan recipient is considering steps to improving their overall financial position.

While financial coaching is not required for all loan types, it is required for the credit building loan, and may be required for other loans when we determine that additional support is necessary for the applicant.

What are the qualifications for HFLA's loan programs?

There are a few minimum qualifications for all HFLA loans. If the applicant does not fit all 4 of these requirements, we cannot consider them for an interest-free loan.

  1. The individual must be a resident of Northeast Ohio (Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Summit and Trumbull counties).
  2. The individual must have an income and demonstrate their ability to repay the loan.
  3. The applicant must apply with a guarantor or co-signer (for standard and education loans only). In certain cases the guarantor may be waived.
  4. The applicant must be unable to access a conventional bank or credit union loan with reasonable interest rates.

Other general qualifications can be found on the loan type webpages. 

Standard Loan

Education Loan

Business Loan

What are some examples for uses of Standard Loans?

HFLA's Standard Loans are used for many general and emergency needs. Some examples of uses for the standard loan are:

  1. Necessary home repair (not remodels or renovations)
  2. Car purchase or car repair
  3. Funeral expenses
  4. Emergency moving costs (often seen in situations of abuse or divorce)
  5. Debt consolidation

Since the standard loan is very flexible, we are able to consider many requests. However, loan decisions will be made on a needs basis only.

How do HFLA loans help build credit?

HFLA's mission is to promote economic self-sufficiency. We seek to help our loan recipients better their financial position by improving their credit. Increased credit and positive repayment history can open the door to conventional financial resources in the future.

HFLA reports loan payments on all loans to all three major credit bureaus. HFLA loan terms are developed with the borrower's financial situation in mind. We establish flexible repayment schedules with payments that fit the loan recipient's budget and ability to repay.

How are loan decisions made?

All HFLA loans are considered individually, on a case-by-case basis. We assess the need of the applicant, how the loan would make a positive impact in their life, and their ability to successfully repay the loan. In determining this, we look closely at the applicant's overall financial situation--not just a credit score. Through exploring a person's credit history, along with the individual, we are able to determine whether they are ready for a loan and in a situation where they are able to take on more debt.

We want our loans to benefit an individual and not cause them setbacks on their financial journey. While money may always seem like the answer to a problem, our interest-free loans require repayment. If the individual is unable to repay the loan we have added yet another financial burden to their situation.

What Northeast Ohio counties are eligible?

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