How are loans affected?

October 1, 2008 9:58:07 AM PDT
While the government is asking for a $700 billion loan to help keep the economy afloat, the question for most everyone else is will the financial crisis keep me from getting loans for things like cars or furniture? It's going to be a little tougher to get a car loan. Lenders will be looking at your credit score with a fine toothed comb. But store managers at Best Buy, the Home Depot and Gallery Furniture tell us it's business as usual and they're still offering their special financing, but not everyone is buying into that.

"I am a cash person, cash only," said shopper Eule Jones.

It is that motto that Jones lives by. During these tough times, she is staying away from applying for loans on big ticket items like flat panel TVs and fancy appliances.

"With the state of the economy and the way of everything else and the uncertainty of the banking industry, I just don't want to take on too much," she said.

But big retailers are still offering customers interest free financing with the same qualifications as before.

"It's appealing superficially, but it's not a good economic decision," said small business owner and economist Frank Simmons.

Simmons says despite the downturn in the economy, retailers will continue to offer zero percent financing term loans.

"They are trying to lure customers in their stores," he said.

At Gallery Furniture...

"Right now we have 15 months no interest," said Gallery Furniture's Jim McIngvale.

McIngvale says he's been in contact with his bank, Wells Fargo.

"Even with the sub prime problem, they did not see any problems with going on the zero interest promotion," he said.

And over at Goodson Honda, Rocky McCullough says American Auto Finance, which finances most of their loans is solid.

"They don't do houses, they just do cars," he said.

However, he does see some changes for customers at any car lot. Lenders will be taking a harder look at credit scores and there will be more stipulations. The length of the loan may change depending on the car you buy. For example, instead of having 5 or 6 years to pay off your loan, you'll have four years. The amount of financing on certain cars will also take a hit.

"On our used vehicles, when it gets to the big SUVs, they are cutting the amount of financing on that and the term," said McCullough.

But for Eule Jones, it's not even an issue. She just walks away from any deal if she can't pay in cash.

We called around to several car dealerships and in some cases, managers tell us their loans haven't changed, but in most cases, managers say lenders will be requiring more money down and only lending to customers who pose little to no risk.

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