Callahan & Associates' Blog
Off The CUFFRSS
Aug 23, 2012
By Rebecca McClay
More By Rebecca McClay
You’ve likely heard by now that many credit card or loan holders are surprised when they learn exactly how long it will take to pay off their loan and exactly how much they will pay in interest rates.
Your members, of course, deserve to be clear on that when they accept your loan. But members may hold loans outside your credit union and may not fully understand that they’ll be in debt to the lender for much longer and for much more than they imagined. New disclosure rules being considered by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will likely help borrowers have a better grasp on what they’ll pay, but credit unions can further help them understand by offering loan calculators in convenient places on their websites.
With a few strokes, borrower will see that perhaps they’re not likely to pare down that student loan as quickly as they’d imagined. We recently wrote about Harvard student Joe Mihalic, who managed to pay down $90,000 in student debt after realizing his monthly payments weren’t making as big a dent in his debt that he thought they were. He’d been paying $1,057 in monthly payments to his original $101,000 for two years and expected to see the he owed close to $80,000. Surprise! He owed about $90,000. “I failed to take interest into account,” he was quoted as saying.
Very few consumers can ramp up their payoff time as much as Mihalic did, but borrowers who are aware of the true pace of their climb out of debt can make adjustments in their budgets to do better.
Credit unions that don’t have their own loan calculators can offer members tips on where to find good ones. Leadfusion offers a variety of calculator products for financial industry to help consumers figure out their best finance packages and their payoff rates. Online, bankrate.com offers a wide range of loan calculators – mortgage calculators, car loan calculators and HELOC calculators are just a few. For student loans, FinAid.org offers a good repayment calculator. There are also countless loan calculator apps. Loan Calculator Pro and Simple Loan Calculator are among the well rated ones.
Encourage your members to use their loans calculators to make sure the loans they want make sense for them.
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