!!! Emergency Response Effort !!!

In response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak, The Hebrew Free Loan Association of Austin is proud to provide interest-free loans to Jewish borrowers in the greater Austin area. At this time, we are considering loans for those in our community impacted by the effects of Coronavirus. We are currently accepting Personal Loan Applications for up to $5,000 with 1 guarantor to ensure repayment. ACH repayment will be required through your bank account after a 90-day grace period, followed by 24 equal monthly payments. 

APPLICANT FAQ

Is it really interest-free? What’s the catch?


There is no catch – we’re here to support our community! This is not a hand out – we’re giving you a hand up. You will be required to pay back the amount you received over time. You will not pay any interest or additional charges in exchange for receiving your loan.




What size loan can I receive?


The loan amount depends on many factors. The average size loans are $500, $2,500 and $5,000.




How long will I have to repay the loan?


We will work with you to identify a mutually agreed upon repayment schedule, which is typically 24 months. The timeline can vary depending on the loan amount and specific circumstances.




Is this confidential?


Yes. We respect your privacy and will maintain confidentiality. In fact, we do not even share information about each loan with every board member.




Who decides if my application is approved?


Loans will be approved at the sole discretion of the HFLA Loan Committee.




What are the basic loan criteria to qualify for a loan?


Applicants generally must meet the following criteria. If your situation falls outside the criteria, please do not hesitate to contact us directly to discuss your situation.

  • You are Jewish
  • Currently resides in the greater Austin area (Travis, Williamson and Hays Counties) with at least three months residency.
  • The request is deemed meaningful or necessary by the Loan Committee
  • At least eighteen (18) years of age
  • A U.S. citizen or legal resident
  • Can demonstrate the ability to repay the loan on time
  • Paid in full any prior loan from HFLA
  • Not currently a Guarantor on a current loan
  • Loan applicants need at least one guarantor, and depending on loan size, may require two guarantors.




Who can be a guarantor for my loan?


A guarantor can be anybody, other than a spouse or current HFLA loan recipient, that is over 21 years of age who is willing and able to pay back the remainder of your loan if you default.




What happens to my loan after I repay it?


HFLA is based on a recycling model where loan re-payments are put back to work funding new loans over and over again.




What can I get a loan for?


As long as you have a need and can identify a re-payment plan, HFLA is here to help. Examples are:

  • Summer camp

  • Tuition, school expenses, professional education, study abroad or other education based expenses

  • A trip to Israel

  • Healthcare, medical, dental and orthodontic expenses

  • Fertility

  • Car payments and repairs

  • Rent, mortgage payments, security deposits and home repairs

  • Childcare

  • Pay off credit cards incurring interest

  • Funeral expenses

  • Catch-up on bills

  • Living costs while job searching or starting a business

  • Unexpected costs that are sometimes difficult for people to plan for or simply absorb

  • Edit cards incurring interest, car loans and repairs and all sorts of unexpected costs that are sometimes difficult for people to plan for or simply absorb.

  • . . . and many more, let’s discuss!




What does the Torah say about giving interest free loans?


In Parashat Mishpatim, God tells Moses and the people of Israel that they may not derive personal benefit from loans made to members of their community – in other words, they may not charge interest. This is the foundation – the inspiration – for our work. HFLA makes it possible for you to fulfill the laws of Judaism.

“If you lend money to My people, even to the poor among you , do not act toward them as a creditor; you shall not charge them interest.” – Exodus 22:24

“You shall not lend him your money at interest, or give him your food for profit.” – Leviticus 25:37




How long does it take to receive a loan?


HFLA will contact you within one week of submitting a loan application. Let us know if your loan request is urgent so that we can review your application quickly. After review of your application, meeting with you in person and speaking with the guarantor, we will provide the loan agreement and check.




Is my donation to HFLA tax deductible?


Yes. HLFA is a non-profit, and therefore, donations are tax deductible. Loan payments are not tax deductible.




Can I support HFLA other than giving money?


Yes! Please contact HFLA we can discuss your idea or make suggestions, send us an email at info@hfla.org




How can HFLA afford to provide loans without any interest or fees?


Thanks to the generosity of HFLA donors and volunteer board members, we are able to provide interest free loans with no fees. Also, because the repayment rate is so high, the money is put back to work funding new loans over and over again, multiplying the number of people helped by the same dollars many times over. When a borrower repays their HFLA loan, they make it possible for someone else to benefit from those same funds.





GUARANTOR FAQ

How many guarantors are needed?


A minimum of one guarantors are needed for loans up to $5,000. For loans greater than $5,000, two guarantors are usually required.




Who can act as a guarantor?


Guarantors must be permanent residents of the United States with a steady source of income. The guarantor does not have to be Jewish or reside in Austin. Parents or other relatives may act as a guarantor.




Who can NOT act as a guarantor?


The following people may not act as a guarantor: -borrower on another HFLA loan -borrower's spouse -rabbi, cantor, or director of a Jewish institution -anyone whose position depends on the goodwill of the community




Is this confidential?


Yes. We respect your privacy and will maintain confidentiality. In fact, we do not even share information about each loan with every board member.




Does a guarantor have to be Jewish?


The guarantor does not need to be Jewish.




Are there any income requirements for guarantors?


It depends on the size of the loan requested. As loan amounts increase, guarantors may need higher incomes to qualify, depending on the total number of guarantors. To qualify, a guarantor will need a steady source of income.




If I'm retired, can I still be a guarantor?


Yes, as long as you meet the other requirements and your net worth and income streams allow you to comfortably take on the financial responsibility of guaranteeing a loan.




Will guaranteeing affect my credit?


We are not a credit reporting agency, so guaranteeing a loan should not affect your credit, unless the loan goes into default.




Does a guarantor have to submit a credit report or score?


While we rarely request a credit report from a guarantor, we do reserve the right to request one depending on the situation.




What is the repayment rate of loans?


98% of loan recipients repay their loans.




May I guarantee more than one Hebrew Free Loan at a time?


Yes. You can guarantee multiple loans as long as you are in a financial position to make payment on all of the loans in the event the loan recipients default.




If I currently have a loan with Hebrew Free Loan, may I also guarantee a loan?


No. If you are a current loan recipient, you may not guarantee a loan.




May I apply for a loan if I am an active guarantor?


No. You may not apply for a loan of your own until the loan that you are guaranteeing has been paid in full.




Why do you need guarantors?


Guarantors play an integral role in supporting our lending model of relying on loan payments to fund future loans. Almost all of our loans are repaid by the loan recipients. However, guarantors help ensure that loan payments are made.




Am I allowed to know the balance on the loan I am guaranteeing? How do I find this out?


Yes. Guarantors can request information about the status of a loan directly from the loan recipient or Hebrew Free Loan of Austin. To request this information, send us an email (info@hfla.org) or call 512-677-4352.





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