If you need some extra cash, a personal loan can be the right tool for you.
Whether you’re trying to cover an unexpected bill, funding a project, or something else, you can use a personal loan to borrow some extra cash.
Personal loans’ flexibility has made them very popular, so many lenders offer these loans to customers.
If you’re from Virginia and in the market for a personal loan, here are some of the best lenders to work with.
The Biggest Lenders in Virginia
The largest lenders in Virginia are:
- Wells Fargo
- SunTrust Bank
- Atlantic Union Bank
- Towne Bank
- United Bank
- PNC Bank
- Carter Bank
- Burke & Herbert Bank
- TD Bank
- First Citizens Bank
This list includes both national and local banks. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Local Virginia Lenders
If you want to work with a bank that is local to Virginia, we recommend that you work with one of these banks:
- SunTrust Bank LightStream
- TD Bank
- M&T Bank
It can be tempting to go straight to a local lender. They’re the ones you’re familiar with and it should be easy to walk into a branch near your home.
Local lenders also have the benefit of being familiar with the people who live in your area. That gives them a lot of experience in dealing with issues common to where you live.
SunTrust Bank LightStream
SunTrust offers personal loans through a service called LightStream.
Applying is as easy as filling out a few online forms.
LightStream’s loans can range in amount from $5,000 to $100,000 with terms of 24-144 months, though terms longer than 84 months require a loan larger than $25,000.
TD Bank is a good choice if you need money fast. Loans under $25,000 can be approved and funded in just two business days. As a bonus, if you’re already a TD Bank customer, you can get a .25% rate discount if you sign up for automatic loan payments.
Secured loans can be easier to qualify for, but you have to provide some collateral. With M&T, you can use the balance of a savings account or CD. M&T’s secured loans can range from $2,000 to $100,000 with a term up to 10 years.
M&T’s unsecured loans max out at $25,000 with interest rates that are higher than the secured loans’ rates. You’ll also be limited to a maximum term of 5 years.
Can Online Lenders Be a Good Alternative?
Before you leave your house to head to the nearest bank to apply for a loan, you should take the time to look for online alternatives. Often, online lenders will charge lower rates or have better terms for their loans.
Sometimes online lenders are more innovative than their brick and mortar competitors.
Things to Look at When Comparing Lenders
Once you’ve decided to apply for a personal loan, you should take the time to shop around for the best deal.
The first thing that you want to do is make sure that you have the best chance of getting approved.
Compare different lenders and the types of borrowers that they like to work with. Some lenders target only those with excellent credit. Others are more open to working with people with lower scores.
Once you’ve compiled a list of lenders who are likely to approve your application, compare the following factors of each loan to find the best deal.
When you borrow money, you expect to pay some interest for the privilege.
One of the most common fees for personal loans is the origination fee. Typically, this fee is a percentage of the amount that you borrow and is immediately added to your balance when the loan is originated.
Personal loans also carry other common loan fees, such as late payment fees.
When you borrow money, you have a set schedule that you will follow to pay it back. The amount of time that it will take you to pay back the loan is the term of the loan.
Different lenders offer different loan terms but most lenders will keep the terms between 1 and 5 years for personal loans.
Longer terms result in lower monthly payments but leave more time for interest to accrue. That increases total costs. Shorter terms cost more on a monthly basis but will save you money in the long run.
Different lenders are willing to lend different amounts. Some will let you borrow $100,000 or more while others won’t give anyone more than $20,000.
Make sure that the lender that you choose is willing to offer a loan of the appropriate size. You don’t want to borrow too much or too little for the job.
If you need money and you need it fast, look for a lender that specializes in quick approval and funding of loans.
Some lenders take weeks to get the money to you while others can do it in days.
Relationship rate discounts
Check with your bank to see if it offers personal loans.
Many banks will give you an interest rate discount if you’re already a banking customer and sign up for automatic payments.
What Do You Need to Apply for a Personal Loan?
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
It may be difficult to get all of this paperwork together, but it is an essential part of the process.
The fewer questions that your potential lender has, the better your chances of qualifying for the loan are.
If your lender has questions about your application, it will slow down the process or result in your application being denied.
How Can You Increase Your Chances of Getting a Personal Loan?
Once you’ve decided to apply for any loan, including personal loans, you’ll want to take steps to give yourself the best chance of qualifying for the loan.
One of the most important factors in determining your ability to qualify for a loan is your credit score.
It can take years to build credit, but there are some short-term tricks that can boost your score by a few points.
One is to reduce your credit utilization ratio.
You can calculate this ratio by dividing the total amount of money that you owe by your total credit limits across all your credit cards.
Pay down your debts and avoid using your card for the month or two before you apply for a loan to give your score a small boost.
Debt vs. income
Your debt-to-income ratio isn’t part of your credit score but it also plays a role in your ability to get a loan.
This ratio compares the amount of money you owe and the amount of money that you make each year. The lower this ratio, the better.
To reduce your debt-to-income ratio you can either pay down your debts or increase your income. Paying down debts is the better strategy because it will also give your credit score a boost.
If you decide to reduce the ratio by increasing your income, make sure that the income is documented. If you’re paid under the table, lenders won’t take that income into account.
Best Uses for Personal Loans
Personal loans are popular because of their flexibility. You can use them for almost anything.
Here are some of the best ways that you can use a personal loan.
If you have multiple credit cards or other debts, you can use a personal loan to consolidate your balances into one loan.
This leaves you with just one monthly payment to make and can even reduce your interest rate.
If you have an emergency and need some money to cover an expense, a personal loan can help you make ends meet.
Using a personal loan can help you avoid having bills go to collections or expensive credit card debt.
Home improvement projects
If you’re starting a home improvement project but don’t want to go through the hassle of opening a HELOC or applying for a home equity loan, a personal loan can get you some cash that you can use to get started on home renovations.