"We feel that those with excellent credit are vastly under-served," Gary Miller tells me. Miller, the CEO of FirstAgain, believes that if you have great credit, you not only deserve better interest rates, but you also deserve a better lending experience.
I think he’s right. How often in the last few years have we heard things like "Bad credit? No problem!" Indeed, leading up to the current credit market crisis, the focus has been on getting people with bad credit to borrow more money. It’s actually really refreshing to talk to someone who wants to focus only on people with good credit.
Unsecured loans for those with good credit
One of the features that I like about FirstAgain’s AnythingLoan is that it offers unsecured financing. At a time when home values are falling and a loan secured with your home can mean that you end up with negative equity, unsecured loans are a gift.
"One of the advantages of these unsecured loans is that you don’t have to do the paperwork and go through the hassle of getting a lien placed on your home or your car," Miller points out. Indeed, FirstAgain loans are completely paperless. An electronic signature suffices, and you can get your money rather quickly. Sometimes even the same day.
"The other advantage to the unsecured loan," Miller continues, "is that you don’t have the stress that can come with knowing that your home is on the line. You know that this lender isn’t going to be able to foreclose on your home."
But the cream, he reminds me, is the fact that even though they are unsecured, they are likely to be repaid. "We focus on people who’s excellent credit prove that they are going to pay this loan back." Miller also explains that underwriters for FirstAgain look at individuals. "FICO scores aren’t even used for our underwriting process."
Instead, FirstAgain considers payment history, income and other factors when deciding on loans. "We have one of the lowest rates of loss in the lending industry because we’re pretty good at weeding out those that won’t pay back their loans."
Credit market crisis and unsecured loans
Miller says that, despite the fact that FirstAgain is growing at a rapid pace, it still isn’t a market barometer. But he does recognize the changes that the credit market crisis has wrought in the types of loans borrower are looking for.
"Many of our borrowers get financing for education or other needs," Miller says. "But one area we have really seen more growth in is the home improvement area. People are no longer confident about tapping their home equity for these things."
Miller makes it clear that the AnythingLoan is exclusively for those with good credit. "These are people who have been responsible. We want to reward that with a great experience. We offer something that isn’t really offered anywhere else."
And in a way, he’s right. Where else is it possible to get an unsecured loan with an interest rate of less than six percent?