What Lenders Really Look For

What Lenders Really Look For

Written by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated June 2, 2021

When you apply for a loan it’s important to understand what lenders look for in their applicants. Of course, depending on the type of loan that you are applying for the different factors that lenders look for change. The following list contains all of the different things that lenders may be looking for when you are applying for one of their products:

1. Credit Score

Most lenders will be interested in your credit score. Your credit score is an indicator of how responsible you are in meeting your debt payment requirements. When you miss payments your credit score is hit.

For an analysis of how your credit score is calculated, click here.

2. Credit History

Since a lender has to pull your credit file when searching for your credit score, they will be looking at your credit history too.

They’ll want the answer to following questions:

Who gives you credit right now?
Who has given you credit in the past?
Have you defaulted on any accounts? Which?
Do you have any debt in collections?

3. Assets

For secured loans, lenders will want to have an idea of which assets you have and how much they are worth. Lenders love it when you have home equity. Otherwise they look for things like cars, RVs, boats, furniture and other high-valued assets.

4. Debts

Just like lenders are interested in what you own, they are also interested in what you owe.

Lenders will want to know how much debt you have, and who you owe to. They want to know if you have a mortgage, or a car loan. They’re also interested in learning if you have credit card debt or other high-interest debt. Basically they want to understand how much debt you have, and how much more you can take on.

One of the ways lenders evaluate this is by taking a look at your income to debt ratio. This is done using the GDS and TDS ratios, and they demonstrate your ability to cover your debt servicing costs. For more information on GDS and TDS, click here.

5. Income

Probably the most important factor behind loan qualification is your income. Of course this is best demonstrated by the fact that it’s very hard to qualify for a loan without income (you would lack the ability to pay down your loan). Without income, your risk of default is greatly increased and lenders like to avoid risk.

Your income determines not only how large a loan you can qualify for, but also the term and possibly the rate of your loan.

Again, be aware that different financial products have different requirements. If you are applying for a loan from a bank then it’s very likely that the bank will be analyzing your entire financial position. On the other hand when searching for a second mortgage, many second mortgage lenders ignore your credit score and instead focus on your income to debt ratio.

Do you need help making sense of it all? Speak with a Loans Canada financial specialist: click here.


Rating of 5/5 based on 1 vote.

Caitlin is a graduate of Dawson College and Concordia University and has been working in the personal finance industry for over eight years. She believes that education and knowledge are the two most important factors in the creation of healthy financial habits. She also believes that openly discussing money and credit, and the responsibilities that come with them can lead to better decisions and a greater sense of financial security. One of the main ways she’s built good financial habits is by budgeting and tracking her spending through the YNAB budgeting app. She also automates her savings so she never forgets to put aside a portion of her income into her TFSA. She believes investing and passive income is key to earning financial freedom. She also uses her Aeroplan TD credit card to collect Aeroplan points so that she can save money when she travels.

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