Bank of the West Personal Loans 2021 Review: Should You Apply?
Personal loans are powerful and flexible financial tools that help you get some extra cash when you need it.
You can use money from a personal loan for almost any reason.
Whether you need to refinance debt, pay for home improvement, or cover an unexpected bill, a personal loan can get you the money that you need.
Bank of the West is a regional bank that serves the Midwest and West Coast.
If you need a personal loan, this review will tell you everything you need to know about Bank of the West’s personal loans.
Loan Size and Terms
When you’re taking out a personal loan, it’s usually to meet a specific financial need.
You might need help covering a car repair or you might be looking to consolidate your debts. No matter your situation, you have a specific amount of money that you need.
You need to find a lender that will offer a loan of the right size. You don’t want to borrow more than you need, and there’s no point in borrowing less than you need.
Bank of the West Personal Loans Pros & Cons
Bank of the West offers personal loans ranging from $2,000 to $50,000.
This wide range makes Bank of the West a good choice for most situations.
If you need to borrow a very large amount of money, you’ll have to find another lender.
Once you’ve decided how much you need to borrow, you have to figure out how long you want to borrow it for.
This is known as the loan’s term.
For example, a loan with a five-year term will give you a payment schedule that will result in your paying the loan off five years from the date you borrow the money.
Bank of the West offers flexible repayment terms up to 60 months.
Loans with long terms have lower monthly payments but will result in larger total costs. Long-term loans also often carry higher rates.
Short-term loans have larger monthly payments but will cost less overall.
Which one is right for you depends on your personal situation.
You should aim to strike a balance between a monthly payment you can handle and low total costs.
There are no explicit requirements to apply for a personal loan from Bank of the West.
Of course, people with good credit are more likely to get approved.
Here's the deal:
Bank of the West states that scores above 670 are preferred in applicants.
If your score is below that, you’re unlikely to get the loan.
If you want to qualify for the best interest rate available from Bank of the West, you should aim to have an excellent credit score before applying.
When you apply for the loan, you’ll have to provide information about your financial assets and debts, and two years of verifiable income history.
Bank of the West will use this information when making its lending decision.
You must apply for the loan in a branch of the bank. You cannot apply online, so make sure that you have all of this information with you when you go to the bank.
You don’t want to slow down the process by forgetting necessary documents. You also want to make sure that the documentation you bring is clear, accurate, and easy to understand.
The fewer questions you leave the loan officer with, the better your chances of getting the loan are.
Fees and How Long It Takes to Get the Money
When you compare different personal lenders, you’ll find that different lenders have different specialties.
Some lenders are good for getting you money very quickly.
Others take their time to approve loans and disburse funds.
Bank of the West falls somewhere in the middle.
It can take a few days for your application to be processed, and another few days for the money to become available.
All-in-all, expect it to take about a week from the time of your application to when you receive the money.
Another good thing to know about Bank of the West is that there are no fees to worry about. Some banks will charge an origination fee when you receive your loan.
Bank of the West does not impose any prepayment penalties.
Get a Rate Discount When You Sign Up for Automatic Payments
If you are a Bank of the West customer, you can save money on your personal loan by signing up for automatic payments.
If you use your Bank of the West checking account for automatic payments, you’ll get a .25% rate discount.
This will reduce both the loan’s total cost and the monthly minimum payment.
How to Get Approved for a Personal Loan
Once you’ve decided that you’re going to apply for a personal loan, you should do whatever you need to do to make sure your application is approved.
During the application process, you’ll be required to submit information that the lender can use to make a decision.
The information you’ll be asked to provide will often include:
- Date of birth
- Proof of identity, such as a driver’s license
- Social Security number
- Annual income
- Proof of income, such as bank statements or pay stubs
- Verification of employment
Getting all that paperwork together can sound daunting, but it’s important that you do it properly.
If you provide incomplete or unclear information, it will reduce your chances of getting approved for a loan.
At best, the process will be delayed as the lender requests clarification and additional documentation. At worst, your application will be rejected outright.
Improving Your Chances of Getting Approved for a Personal Loan
Before you fill out your application, there are a few things you can do to improve your chances of getting a personal loan.
Increase Your Credit Score
The thing that has the greatest impact on your application’s chances is your credit score.
Your credit score is a numerical measure of your financial trustworthiness. A good credit score means you’re like to pay your bills on time. Bad credit means that you might not pay your monthly bill, making lending to you risky.
Maintaining a good credit score is important because it makes borrowing money cheaper and gives you access to more loans.
Your credit score is calculated from five factors:
- Payment history
- Amount owed
- Length of credit history
- Credit mix
- New applications
Your payment history has the largest impact on your credit score, followed by the amount you owe. Do your best to make on-time payments on all of your debts.
Even one missed or late payment can drop your score by a lot. Also, try to avoid taking on a lot of debt or maxing out your credit cards as that can also tank your credit score.
The bad news is that these are the two portions of your credit score that are the hardest to influence.
In the short-term, avoid applying for new credit cards or loans in the months before any important loan application. Each time you apply for a loan, your credit score drops by a few points.
Also, avoid using your credit cards in the month before applying for a loan.
Having your cards report a low or no balance will improve your score as it makes it look like you don’t have much debt.
Reduce Your Debt-to-Income Ratio
Your debt-to-income ratio also plays a major role in your application’s odds of approval. This ratio measures how much of your monthly income goes to required bill payments.
You can calculate your debt to income ratio by dividing your monthly income by the sum of your monthly minimum payments on your debts and your rent bill.
So, if you make $3,000 a month and your rent and bill payments add up to $2,000, your debt-to-income ratio is 67%.
You can improve this ratio by increasing your income or paying down existing debt. Paying down your debts also increases your credit, so we recommend you use that strategy if possible.
If you decide to improve the ratio by increasing your income, make sure the income is documentable. Lenders won’t consider income received under the table when making a lending decision.
How Does It Compare?
Bank of the West isn’t the only lender that offers personal loans. You should take the time to consider all of the options available to you.
Start by comparing loans’ interest rates. Always choose the lowest rate if all the other factors are equal.
Also, compare the origination fees and early repayment fees you might be charged.
A Bank of the West’s personal loan is a good option for people who need to borrow money, but who do not need it urgently.
If you have a Bank of the West checking account, you can save some money on interest by staying with your bank for a personal loan.
If you don’t already have a Bank of the West account, you should shop around to try to find a better deal.