Is an Algorithm Less Racist Than a Loan Officer?

Laveta Brigham

Brennan Johnson, left, and Trevor McIntosh, who secured a mortgage for their home through Better.com, in front of their home in Wheat Ridge, Colo., August 18, 2020. (Benjamin Rasmussen/The New York Times)
Brennan Johnson, left, and Trevor McIntosh, who secured a mortgage for their home through Better.com, in front of their home in Wheat Ridge, Colo., August 18, 2020. (Benjamin Rasmussen/The New York Times)

In 2015, Melany Anderson’s 6-year-old daughter came home from a play date and asked her mother a heartbreaking question: Why did all her friends have their own bedrooms?

Anderson, 41, a pharmaceutical benefits consultant, was recently divorced, living with her parents in West Orange, New Jersey, and sharing a room with her daughter. She longed to buy a home, but the divorce had emptied her bank account and wrecked her credit. She was working hard to improve her financial profile, but she couldn’t imagine submitting herself to the scrutiny of a mortgage broker.

“I found the idea of going to a bank completely intimidating and impossible,” she said. “I was a divorced woman and a Black woman. And

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Scotland to offer citizens a $26K interest-free loan to buy a secondhand EV

Laveta Brigham

In the switchover to electric vehicles, governments hand out subsidies to new car buyer to help make the transition a little financially sweeter. In most countries, though, the subsidies only apply for new EVs, but in Scotland that’s no longer the case.

According to Next Green Car, a consumer advice site that helps drivers make the switch to plug-in vehicles, the Scottish government is for the first time extending its Low Carbon Transport Loan to also cover used electric vehicles.

[Read: Are EVs too expensive? Here are 5 common myths, debunked]

For many, buying a new EV is more expensive than a combustion engine car, particularly at the low-end of the market. Luckily, there are government subsidies to take the edge off, but sadly, they don’t extend to used-cars. Making second-hand EVs a little less appealing than their combustion counterparts.

What’s more, EVs — as Tesla has shown —

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You Don’t Need Perfect Credit to Get a Personal Loan

Laveta Brigham

A low credit score doesn’t have to stand in your way if you want to get a personal loan to cover an emergency or consolidate your debts.

Borrowers with bad credit, which is a FICO score below 630, may need to put in some extra work to qualify for a personal loan. But taking these steps can not only help you get approved, they could also get you a cheaper interest rate.

Clean up your credit, shrink your debt

Before you apply for a personal loan, get a copy of your credit report to see what the lender will see on it, says Adrienne Ross, a Washington-based certified financial planner. You can get one free copy of your report from all three major credit bureaus at annualcreditreport.com.

The details on your credit report can show you why your score is low and signal how to address the issues before a

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Woman Impacted by 9/11 Takes Out $800K Loan Against Her NYC Home to Give PPE to Pandemic Workers

Laveta Brigham

Robert A. Ripps Rhonda Roland Shearer

Rhonda Roland Shearer is no stranger to helping others obtain protective equipment in times of disaster and emergency.

Just days after the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001, the New York resident and her daughter, London Allen, showed up to Ground Zero and started the main supply operation to hand out 3M P100s respirator masks and other personal protective equipment to first responders in need.

“The striking narrative was that everybody had everything they needed, but when you actually were at Ground Zero, people didn’t have it,” Shearer, 66, tells PEOPLE. “So we saw what they needed and went about getting thousands of them.”

Nineteen years later, Shearer is back on the frontlines — this time, with her nonprofit initiative, Cut Red Tape 4 Heroes, as they stand outside dozens of New York City hospitals and public housing complexes to hand out PPE kits to

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How to Get a Business Loan in 8 Steps

Laveta Brigham

and entrepreneurs borrow money at some point to cover various costs. While going into debt has a bad reputation in some circles, business loans are time-tested tools for achieving business success. If the borrower can generate a greater return on the money than the lender is charging to lend it then a loan can be an appropriate financial move. Here’s what you need to know about getting a business loan.” data-reactid=”24″Many businesses and entrepreneurs borrow money at some point to cover various costs. While going into debt has a bad reputation in some circles, business loans are time-tested tools for achieving business success. If the borrower can generate a greater return on the money than the lender is charging to lend it then a loan can be an appropriate financial move. Here’s what you need to know about getting a business loan.

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China Just Killed Its $491 Billion Private Loan Market

Laveta Brigham

(Bloomberg Opinion) — Sometimes you’ve got to wonder what Beijing’s priorities are: helping small businesses weather the Covid-19 storm or taking victory laps. The message to the private banking world is unclear. 

Beijing has vowed to cut the cost of borrowing, and its latest target is private loans. China’s Supreme Court ordered interest rates on private lending, which includes microcredit, pawnshop loans, and online peer-to-peer lending, to be lowered as much as 10 percentage points. Previously, when disputes arose, China’s legal system would honor agreements with rates up to 24%. Now the ceiling is 15.4%, or four times the benchmark rate.

At first blush, China appears to be protecting the little guys. In reality, though, Beijing is closing off an important financing channel to those most in need. The Covid-19 outbreak has worsened small businesses’ credit profiles, and this new loan cap could shut down a corner of shadow banking

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Lender announces 30-year home loan under 2%, even as mortgage rates rise

Laveta Brigham

Though mortgage rates have generally been moving higher this week, one of America’s largest home lenders keeps moving things far in the other direction.

United Wholesale Mortgage — the company that recently announced a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage with rates as low as 1.875% — has just unveiled a 30-year fixed-rate loan that starts at just 1.999%.

UWM’s new deal offers potentially huge savings for borrowers.

“Roughly speaking, this means a consumer with a $300,000 home who puts down 10% and refinances from a 3.14% to 1.999% interest rate can save nearly $128,785.56 over the life of the loan,” UWM said, in an email.

But can anybody get a 1.999% mortgage? Is there a catch?

Rates far below the average

Gearstd / Shutterstock

The rate on UWM’s loan is way below this week’s average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage: 2.96%, according to mortgage company Freddie Mac. Though rates

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How to Get a Personal Loan in a COVID-19 Economy

Laveta Brigham

A personal loan may be harder to get now than before the coronavirus pandemic took hold. A shaky economy has forced some lenders to tighten their credit standards and examine applicants more closely.

But it’s still possible to qualify for a loan. The economic crisis has highlighted things borrowers have needed in the past — like strong income and a high credit score — as especially important.

Here are a few things you can do to improve your chances of getting a personal loan right now.

Show your income is intact

Lenders may work harder now to be sure your income is what you say it is.

At Discover, which offers personal loans to borrowers with good credit, manually verifying an applicant’s income and employment became more common as underwriting models adjusted with the economy, says Matt Lattman, the company’s vice president for personal loans.

LendingClub has also updated how

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Loan program ends, hard-hit businesses hope for 2nd chance

Laveta Brigham

NEW YORK (AP) — Small businesses are in limbo again as the coronavirus outbreak rages and the government’s $659 billion relief program draws to a close.

Companies still struggling with sharply reduced revenue are wondering if Congress will give them a second chance at the Paycheck Protection Program, which ends Friday after giving out 5.1 million loans worth $523 billion. While the program that began April 3 has gotten mixed reviews, business owners still need help as the virus continues to spread and hamstring the economy.

“They’ve exhausted their funds and are looking for a Round Two,” says Molly Day, a spokeswoman for the National Small Business Association, an advocacy group.

Congress is debating further help for small business as part of a broader coronavirus relief package. One proposal would allow the hardest-hit businesses, those whose revenue is down over 50%, to return for a second PPP loan; there’s still

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One woman weathers a career change and upside-down car loan to pay off $133,000 in debt

Laveta Brigham

One-third of adults age 30 or younger have student loan debt, with the median burden hovering at $17,000. In Debt Diaries, we introduce you to those who took on their debt and came away with a better understanding of themselves. Their testimonials offer hope — and tools — to show that you, too, can overcome debt.

Amanda Williams is the founder and owner of Debt Free in Sunny CA, where she helps guide others to debt-free living by sharing tips, and fostering an in-person and online community. She and her husband, Josh, celebrated paying off more than $133,000 in debt in less than four years on July 5, 2018.

Amanda Williams Debt Diaries Profile (ABC Photo Illustration / Photo Courtesy Amanda Williams)

How Amanda’s student loan debt began

I took out private student loans to go to school for massage therapy. After graduating, I worked on several cruise ships

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