Everybody can use a bit of extra money sometimes. Whether you’re facing an unexpected bill, a medical emergency, or a project whose budget is growing, being able to get a loan when you need one is valuable.
The good news is that many lenders offer personal loans, which are ideal for these types of situations.
Personal loans are highly flexible loans that can be used for almost any reason. Unlike mortgages, which are used specifically to purchase real estate or auto loans which can only be used for vehicles, personal loans are largely unrestricted.
Most personal loans also don’t require any collateral.
That makes them a great choice for people who need to borrow small amounts of money on short notice.
If you live in Illinois and need to apply for a personal loan, these are some the best lenders in the state.
The Biggest Lenders in Illinois
The largest lenders in Illinois are:
- BMO Harris
- CIBC Bank
- PNC Bank
- MB Financial
- U.S. Bank
- Fifth Third Bank
- First Midwest Bank
- Wells Fargo
- TCF National
- Associated Bank
- Busey Bank
This list is composed of both national and local banks. Each bank offers personal loans in addition to its other services.
Local Illinois Lenders
If you want to work a bank that is local to Illinois, we recommend one of these options:
- Fifth Third Bank
- First Midwest Bank
- TCF National
Local lenders can be a good choice for many people as they tend to offer higher flexibility and more personalization options when compared to larger banks.
On the other hand, larger banks have their own perks, such as streamlined lending processes.
Fifth Third Bank
Fifth Third Bank offers personal loans ranging from $2,000 to $25,000. You must have an existing Fifth Third checking or savings account to apply.
Fifth Third’s loans have terms that range from 12 to 60 months, giving you the option to get a truly short-term loan.
You can also customize your first payment due date, giving yourself up to 45 days to make your first payment.
First Midwest Bank
First Midwest Bank offers personal loans between $1,000 and $25,000 and terms as long as 60 months.
With a low minimum loan amount, First Midwest Bank is a great choice for people who just need a bit of help making ends meet. The loan can also be a good way to consolidate existing debts.
TCF National offers personal loans ranging from $2,500 to $35,000, but only offers 3 and 5-year terms.
The biggest perk of working with TCF National is that you’ll get the money quickly. TCF National deposits the money the day after your loan is approved.
Can Online Lenders Be a Good Alternative?
If you need money quickly, you might want to walk into a local branch and fill out an application in-person. While this strategy works, you’re missing out by ignoring online lenders. Often, you can find great deals online that you can’t find anywhere.
Online lenders have much fewer overhead costs when compared to brick and mortar lenders.
They don’t have to pay for physical locations or other costs related to running a physical business.
Most online lenders take those savings and pass them on to their customers, offering low rates and fees on their loans.
Another benefit of working with an online lender is that some use unusual methods to approve loans.
Most lenders will look at your credit report and income and use that information to make a lending decision.
Some online lenders specialize in using other strategies, such as looking at your level of education or employment history. This can help your chances of approval if you have less than stellar credit.
Things to Look at When Comparing Loans
If you’re thinking about applying for a personal loan, you should take the time to compare different loans. If you do this, you can find the loan with the best terms for you, which can save you a lot of money in the long run.
The first thing you should do is make a list of lenders that you want to work with.
Consider that different lenders tend to work with different types of borrowers. Some lenders like working with borrowers with less than perfect credit.
Others focus on people with excellent credit and tend to deny everyone else.
Try to choose a few that work with people that have similar financial and credit profiles to yourself.
Once you’ve come up with a list of lenders who are likely to work with you, compare these factors of their loans.
On top of the interest that you’ll pay for borrowing money, many lenders will charge fees on their loans.
Perhaps the most common fee for personal loans is the origination fee. This fee is usually a percentage of the amount that you borrow and is added to the balance of your loan when the money is first deposited to your account.
For example, if you pay a 5% origination fee on a loan of $5,000, your starting balance will be $5,250, even though only $5,000 was deposited to your bank account.
Another fee that you should be aware of is the early repayment fee. Some lenders charge this fee as a way to recoup lost interest income. If you pay your loan off ahead of schedule, this fee may be charged. If you plan to make additional or larger payments on your loan than what is required, try to avoid loans that charge this fee.
A loan’s term is the amount of time that you have will take to pay the loan back, assuming you follow the payment schedule. Different lenders offer different loan terms but they tend to range from 12 months to 60 months, with shorter or longer terms being rarer.
Longer terms will result in smaller monthly payments but leave more time for interest to accrue. This means that you’ll pay more in the long run.
Shorter terms leave less month-to-month flexibility but result in the loan being paid off more quickly. This will save you money in the long run as you’ll pay less interest.
Borrowing amount limits
Different lenders will be willing to loan different amounts of money to their borrowers.
Some lenders will be willing to lend small amounts, like $1,000, while others won’t bother unless you want to borrow at least $5,000. On the other end of things, many lenders will max out at loans of $25,000 or $30,000 while others won’t bat an eye at lending as much as $100,000.
Make sure that the lender you’re working with is willing to lend enough money to meet your needs. There isn’t a point in borrowing the money otherwise.
Fund disbursement speed
Sometimes, you just need money fast and you can’t be picky about the other stuff. If you’re under a time crunch, look for a lender that specializes in quick approvals and disbursement of funds.
If your current bank offers personal loans, check to see if the bank offers a relationship discount. Many lenders will give you an interest rate discount if you sign up for automatic payments from your checking account at the bank.
What Do You Need to Apply for a Personal Loan?
When you apply for a personal loan, you have to provide some identifying information that the lender can use to check your credit and make a lending decision.
Expect to provide some or all of the following information:
- 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 paystubs.
- Verification of employment
Though providing this much information might sound daunting, the more info you provide, the better.
The more information that you provide, the easier the application process will be. The last thing you want is to leave lenders with questions about your finances or identity, which can lead to a declined loan application.
How to Improve Your Chances of Being Approved for a Personal
Once you’ve settled on a lender, you should take the time to make sure you have the best possible chance of qualifying for the loan.
Your credit score plays a large role in determining whether your application is approved or denied.
While the best method to improve your score, making on-time payments on all your bills, takes months and year to pan out, there are some short-term tricks.
One is to reduce your credit utilization ratio.
You can calculate this ratio by dividing the amount of money you owe by the total credit limit of all of your credit cards and loans. Paying down loans or increasing the credit limit on your cards can help with this.
Another thing that can help is to reduce your debt-to-income ratio.
You can do this by paying down your existing debts (which will also give your credit a boost).
You can also do this by increasing your income. Just make sure that any additional income that you earn is documented. Lenders won’t take under-the-table income into account when making a decision.