Cosigning: Should You or Not?
Who is a Cosigner?
cosigner is a party in an agreement between a creditor and a borrower where the
cosigner undertakes to pay the loan, interest, and associated costs if the
borrower fails to pay. When the lender finds the risk of default by a loan
applicant to be very high, he can only approve the loan if a third party
undertakes to pay, in case of default. Therefore, instead of rejecting the
application, the creditor requests the loan applicant find a cosigner. The
cosigner should have a high enough credit score to get the loan approved without
considering the credit score of the applicant. Furthermore, the cosigner should
undertake to repay the loan as if he is the one who applied for and received it.
Usually, the borrower and the cosigner have a social relationship such as a
parent and child or a couple. This article describes the financial risks of
cosigning and precautions to take if you decide to do it.
When is a Cosigner is required?
Creditors usually require cosigners for the following two categories of
1. Applicants with poor credit records have
formed financial habits that make them easily default and could easily repeat
2. Applicants who have no credit history and no
experience in managing a loan repayment can easily default. Usually, applicants
in this category are trying to get loan for first time.
Obligations of a Cosigner
The cosigner is obliged to pay the entire loan and interest if the borrower
defaults. Another financial obligation of the cosigner is to pay additional fees
associated with the loan: collection costs and late fees. Therefore, the
cosigner is as responsible for paying back the loan as the borrower. In fact, a
cosigner is a co-borrower. The lender can use the same loan recovery methods
used on the borrower to recover the loan from the cosigner, in case of default.
These methods include garnishing wages, suing, and selling property.
Financial Risks of Cosigning
Cosigning has the following four serious financial risks.
You can lose a lot of money and pledged property in paying the loan, if the
borrower fails to pay. Even if the applicant is a responsible person, the
unexpected could happen to make the borrower unable to pay the loan. For
instance, the borrower can lose employment if the employer loses business and
decides to retrench some staff. Furthermore, if the borrower goes bankrupt, the
cosigner has to pay the loan.
2. The lender can sue you in court if the
borrower defaults. Court cases are costly, stressful, and time consuming.
3. The transactions on the loan become part of
the cosigner’s credit record and can negatively affect its rating if the
borrower defaults in payment. Late payment or default will earn the cosigner
negative credit scores.
4. The cosigned loan increases the
debt-to-income ratio of the cosigner and makes it difficult for him to get
approval for their own loan or credit. Furthermore, lenders consider cosigned
loans before approving a loan application and may not approve the next loan if
the cosigned loan is in default.
How to Reduce Risks of Cosigning
Despite the risks, you may find it necessary to cosign a loan. For instance, you
may do it to help a close relative or loved one repair their bad credit history.
Another case is if the applicant is your child in first job with no credit
history. You may consider it your responsibility to help the applicant get the
first loan and start to develop a credit history. You should take the following
nine precautions to reduce the risks.
1. Set aside enough money to settle the loan in
case of default. People with low credit ratings are irresponsible of their
finances and are very likely to be more careless if somebody else is obliged to
pay for them. Studies show that borrowers default in three-quarters of consigned
Insist that the lender omits the clause that obligates the cosigner to pay all
associated costs. The omission exempts you from paying costs such as attorneys'
fees and court costs.
3. The contract should have a clause that
obliges the lender to inform you as soon as the borrower fails to submit an
installment. It is easier to pay one missed installment than many accrued ones.
Furthermore, you can persuade the borrower to resume making payments before the
situation gets worse
4. Insist that the applicant pledges some
property as security. For instance, the property can be the one the applicant
intends to buy with the loan. If the borrower fails to pay in payment, the
lender can seize and sell the property to recover the loan. The cosigner is not
responsible for paying the loan after the lender uses the property settle it.
5. Insist that the lender deletes the
acceleration clause from the contract. This clause empowers the lender to
recover the balance on the full loan and fees from the cosigner immediately once
the borrower misses to pay one installment.
6. Insist that the lender deletes the clause in
the standard loan agreement form that makes you an automatic cosigner for
subsequent loans the same lender gives to the borrower. If you sign the
agreement with the clause, the lender does not have to consult or ask you to
sign a new agreement for a subsequent loan to the borrower.
7. Carefully review all documents.
copies of important documents. You can use them when a dispute arises between
the lender and the borrower. Important documents include warranties,
Truth-in-Lending Disclosure Statement, and the loan contract.
9. Consult a legal adviser to review the
documents and suggest any other cosigning rights before you sign.
You should avoid cosigning because the financial risks associated with it are
very serious. Besides, the transaction can ruin your relationship with the
borrower in case of default. Furthermore, you may develop health problems from
the stress caused by the transaction. Rather than go into cosigning, it is
better to persuade the loan applicant to withdraw the application and help in
avoiding unnecessary expenses and improving financial management. This is a
safer way to help somebody to repair a bad credit history.
Attracting Wealth: Turning On Your Money Magnetism
Cosigning: Should You or Not?
How Credit Card Users can Help Fight Card Skimming Fraudulent Activities
How Safe is Online Shopping; What are the Risks Involved?
How Late Payment and Minimum Payment Affect Your Credit Scores
Where and How to Sell Unwanted Gift Cards
How Much is Gold Worth?
What are Payday Loans and why Payday Loans?
How Credit Scores Work and Why Credit Scores are Important
How Can You Save Money Using Online Coupons?
Do You Need Income Protection Insurance?