Frequently Asked Questions about what it means to guarantee a loan, and who is eligible.
All loans require qualified guarantors. If you (or your guarantors) meet some but not all of the criteria below, please check with us. We can sometimes make exceptions to certain eligibility requirements.
How many guarantors are needed?
A minimum of two guarantors are needed for loans up to $20,000. For loans greater than $20,000, three to four guarantors are usually required.
Who can act as a guarantor?
In the ideal case, guarantors are Jewish residents of Northern California with a steady source of monthly income. However, in recognition of the diversity of Jewish life and communities, we no longer require that all guarantors be Jewish or reside in Northern California. Details below.
Does a guarantor have to live in Northern California?
The majority of guarantors must be permanent residents of Northern California. However, one guarantor may live elsewhere in the United States.
Does a guarantor have to be Jewish?
At least one guarantor must be Jewish. Exceptions available for interfaith families, see below.
Are parents or other relatives allowed to guarantee?
Yes, as long as they meet the basic guarantor requirements.
We are an interfaith family. Can non-Jewish relatives guarantee a loan?
Yes. We welcome interfaith family members as guarantors, as long as they meet the other requirements. Loan applicants from interfaith families are not required to have Jewish guarantors.
Are there any income requirements for guarantors?
For a loan of up to $15,000, a guarantor should have a minimum annual gross income of $60,000. For loans greater than $15,000, guarantors may need higher incomes, depending on the total number of guarantors.
If I'm retired, can I still be a guarantor?
Yes, as long as you meet the other requirements and your net worth and income streams allow you to comfortably take on the financial responsibility of guaranteeing a loan.
Will guaranteeing affect my credit?
We are not a credit reporting agency, so guaranteeing a loan should not affect your credit, unless the loan goes into default.
Does a guarantor have to submit a credit report or score?
No. Guarantors fill out a short information form and sign the borrower’s promissory note. We rarely request a credit report from a guarantor.
What’s your repayment rate?
Over 99.5% of loan recipients repay their loans.
If I currently have a loan with Hebrew Free Loan, may I also guarantee a loan?
No. If you are a current loan recipient, you may not guarantee a loan.
May I apply for a loan if I am an active guarantor?
No. You may not apply for a loan of your own until the loan that you are guaranteeing has been paid in full.
May I guarantee more than one Hebrew Free Loan at a time?
Yes. You may be a guarantor on up to three active loans at a time, as long as you are in a financial position to handle that responsibility.
I’m married. Can I act as a guarantor separate from my spouse?
No. Due to community property laws in California, you and your spouse are jointly responsible for the loan.
Why do you need guarantors?
Guarantors play an integral role in supporting our lending model. Most loans are repaid by the loan recipients, but guarantors 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.
Am I allowed to know the balance on the loan I am guaranteeing? How do I find this out?
Yes. Guarantors 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 guarantors. You may call us at (415) 546-9902 x110 to request this information at any time.
May I download a copy of the guarantor form?
No. To avoid confusion, guarantor forms are provided to loan applicants during the interview, either in paper form or as a fillable PDF. The person whose loan you are guaranteeing will give you this form.
Can’t find an answer to your question? Please contact us by email or phone: (415) 546-9902 x110.