Frequently Asked Questions

Borrower FAQ

Who can borrow from the HFLA?

HFLA borrowers are typically low and moderate income individuals who live in the Greater Baltimore area. They can be facing a financial need or expense – be it surgery, tuition, moving expenses or a rent deposit, small business, medical treatments, the purchase of a used car, or a range of other needs – that they currently can’t afford. The HFLA personal loan applicant must be Jewish, at least 18 years old, reside in the Greater Baltimore area, show the need for the loan, and most importantly, demonstrate the ability to pay the loan back within the timeframe established by the HFLA.

How do I apply for a loan?

To apply for a loan, you will need to submit an application either online, download an application and fill out, or fill out an application in person at the HFLA office (Thursday evening between 7pm-8:30pm). You will then need to meet with (one or two) members of the HFLA board of directors. If approved, you will return with cosigners (if applicable) and sign a promissory note to receive your loan.

Loan FAQ

How much interest is charged on an HFLA personal loan?

HFLA personal loans are interest-free.

How much can I can borrow?

The typical amount of an HFLA loan ranges from $1,000 to $10,000, with some exceptions (most loans are between $3,000 and $5,000).

When will I know if my loan is approved?

You will know on the day of your interview if your loan is approved.

How much time do I have to repay my loan?

Loan repayment terms are based on the loan amount and typically are from one to three years. Special circumstances that require longer terms will be discussed during your interview.

How do I repay my loan?

You can repay your loan by mailing in a check to the HFLA office, by bringing a check (or cash) into the office on Thursday evenings between 7:00pm and 8:30pm, or by paying on the website via Paypal.

Do I need to be concerned about the safety of my personal information?

The HFLA does not disclose your personal information to anyone, except as permitted by law and/or as authorized by you. We continue to adhere to this privacy policy after your loan account has been closed. However, the HFLA may discuss your loan payments with your cosigners at any time. All members of the HFLA board of directors are also bound by this confidentiality policy.

Cosigner FAQ

Why does the HFLA require cosigners, even for borrowers who have good credit?

Co-signers play an integral role in supporting our lending model. Most loans are repaid by the loan recipients, but cosigners make our loans more secure by ensuring repayment even if unexpected events cause the recipient to default. In our experience, loan recipients are all the more compelled to repay their loans when they know their friends and relatives are counting on them to do so.

How many cosigners are needed?

Generally one cosigner is needed for every $1,500 loaned. Exceptions are often made especially for larger loans.

Who can act as a cosigner?

Cosigners should be home owners in the Greater Baltimore area with a steady source of monthly income. All parties to an individual home title must agree to be responsible for the loan, and are counted as one cosigner.  Therefore, in a typical family, if both the husband and wife have their names on the title to their house, then they together are considered just one cosigner for the loan

I’m married. Can I act as a cosigner separate from my spouse?

No. Due to community property laws in Maryland, you and your spouse are jointly responsible for the loan.

Are parents or other relatives allowed to cosign?

Yes, as long as they meet the basic cosigner requirements.

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

No. Co-signers fill out a short information form and sign the borrower’s promissory note.

If I currently have a loan with the HFLA, may I also cosign a loan?

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

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

Yes. Co-signers are entitled to full disclosure on the details of the loan, including the loan’s current balance, the monthly repayment rate, the estimated loan repayment date, and the names of the other cosigners. You may call us to request this information at any time.

If the loan defaults, do the cosigners divide the balance of the loan?

Each cosigner can be held responsible for the full amount of the loan.

If you cannot find an answer to your question, contact us!

5750 Park Heights Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21215

Open Thursday Evenings
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

410.843.7536

hfla@hebrewfreeloan.org

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Please stop by our office Thursday evenings from 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM for a loan interview, or just to obtain more information. All loan information and conditions are confidential. We are located in the Henry and Jeanette Weinberg Building next door to the Park Heights JCC. We have our own entrance on the far right corner of the building.