Frequently Asked Questions

Applicant Questions

Yes. As mandated by the HFLA-SA Constitution and By-laws, all borrowers must be Jewish. "Jewish" is defined as someone either born into the religion or converted by a Rabbi, without subsequent conversion to any non-Jewish religion. ("Messianic Jews" are deemed Christian and therefore, ineligible.)

Borrowers must be "permanent residents" of the 15 county, San Antonio service area (see map), having been so for at least 6-months. Students who are "permanent residents" of this area remain eligible, regardless where they attend school. Applicants are also required to be legal residents of the United States.

Each loan application is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. In light of applicant's need, HFLA-SA relies heavily on cosigner creditworthiness in determining loan viability. If prospective borrowers and/or cosigners have previously participated in HFLA-SA loans, the Loan & Collections Committee will review and place significant emphasis on payment history and compliance with loan terms.

No. Beside students, borrowers are only permitted one loan at a time. A student whose account is in good standing, without an enrollment lapse in excess of six-months, is eligible for annual loans, up to a maximum of 4-years.

No. Married couples are considered one borrower, with each liable for the other's debts. Therefore, no spouse of a current borrower can apply for a separate loan. Likewise, no husband or wife may cosign for the other.

HFLA-SA provides zero-interest loans, with no hidden fees. Repayment obligations mirror the exact amount borrowed (loan principal). The only additional charges we may apply include the following: (1) If borrower's payment is dishonored by his/her bank, HFLA-SA passes along resulting fees incurred; (2) If a borrower defaults on his/her loan or litigation takes place, all legal and collection expenses will be added to the account balance, payable by the debtor(s).

We try to simplify and streamline the process. Applicants verify eligibility and secure well-qualified cosigners, people willing to guarantee the entire loan's repayment. (For cosigner eligibility criteria, requirements and responsibilities, see the section below.) All HFLA-SA applications require a borrower's promissory note, as well as an agreement from each cosigner. All parties must submit or authorize the release of certain personal information to be used for verification and assessment of risk and creditworthiness. If approved, this data is maintained for loan administration. In all cases, we view this information as confidential and guard it accordingly.

Part of this response depends on the applicant. Once all required loan documentation is received (including completed cosigner forms, copies of drivers licenses, social security cards and any additional requested information), HFLA-SA processing takes approximately 7 business days. The Loan and Collections Committee conducts a review and makes a determination. Decisions made by the Committee are final. Upon loan approval, a check will be processed and promptly issued to the borrower. Applications for Special Situation loans may require more time. HFLA-SA does not pre-approve loans, and no one should ever presume receipt of an interest-free loan.

Cosigner Questions

First and foremost, cosigners must be willing and able to repay the entire loan, in the event the borrower proves unable to do so. Each cosigner agrees to be Jointly and Severally Liable for the loan repayment, not a pro-rata amount. In addition, cosigners must meet the following criteria: (1) Have good credit, with steady income or sufficient resources (2) Be at least 21-years old, (3) Be a permanent resident of Texas or a relative of the applicant (4) May not be transient and (5) Should not hold a position dependent on the community's good will (i.e. Rabbi, Cantor, etc.).

No.  Married couples are considered one unit, with each assuming the other's obligations.

HFLA-SA permits well-qualified cosigners (individuals meeting all stated requirements, including good credit and steady income or ample, unencumbered assets) to guarantee multiple loans at the same time.

It shouldn't. We will not report a cosigner's liability to a credit bureau, unless cosigner is party to a loan default. In addition, when a credit report is required, we ask people to obtain and submit their own, precluding any adverse affect from a "hard inquiry".

After agreeing to participate in an HFLA-SA loan, you are Jointly and Severally liable for the entire account balance. Even with multiple guarantors, if you have indicated a percentage or specific dollar amount, should others renege, you could be responsible for any amount up to the entire remaining balance.

We always attempt to obtain payments from borrowers first; if this proves challenging, we may enlist your assistance to encourage that person's fulfillment of his/her obligation.

If you've been through all the information above and still have questions, please send us an email, or call the HFLA-SA office during business hours.