Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have to be Jewish to get a loan?
No. The Jewish Free Loan Association is a nonprofit non-sectarian agency, providing interest-free loans to people of all faiths.
*Please note: There are specific donor-directed loan programs that are restricted to Jewish clients only.*
Get a complete listing of loan programs and requirements.
Do you have to live in Los Angeles to get a loan?
Borrowers must be permanent residents of Los Angeles or Ventura Counties. Members of the Jewish community in Southern California may also apply for a loan. In addition, borrowers must have a current California ID or drivers license, have legal residency status (no VISAs) and are required to live at least 6 months in the area to qualify as a permanent resident. *There are some exceptions to this rule.*
- If you live outside the Southern California area, find a Free Loan near you or find a United Way office near you.
What does permanent resident mean?
What if I live outside the Southern California area?
Unfortunately JFLA cannot assist you.
- If you live outside the Southern California area, find a free loan near you or find a United Way office near you.
Am I required to have good credit to secure a loan?
Typically, we do not check the borrower’s credit for emergency loans. We rely primarily on the co-signers’ credit and income to determine the viability of the loan. Each loan application is handled on a case by case basis, so this information is meant only as a general guideline. Please note: We do check the borrower’s credit on all business loans.
Am I allowed to apply for two different types of loans at one time?
JFLA can only offer one loan to one borrower at a time. We cannot provide two loans from different funds simultaneously.
Can my spouse apply for a loan too?
Married couples are considered one borrower and therefore cannot each apply for a loan. Couples must show proof of legal separation to be considered as two separate borrowers.
Why do I need a cosigner?
Co-signers are required to guarantee the loan and they enable JFLA to retain its 99.5% repayment rate and to help others in need in the future. *We do not accept any other forms of collateral.* No exceptions.
Do I need one or two cosigners to get a loan?
Loans of up to $1,000 require one cosigner; loans over $1,000 require two. Each loan varies; this is meant only as a general guideline.
What are the cosigner (co-maker) requirements?
- Have good credit
- Have steady income
- Be 25 years of age or older
- Be permanent residents of California
- Have no current activity with the Jewish Free Loan Association as a maker (borrower) or co-maker (co-signer).
- Not be a full-time student (unless he/she has steady income) or on active military duty.
- Be willing and able to repay the loan if the maker (borrower) is unable to repay successfully.
Do my cosigners have to come with me to my appointment?
Cosigners (co-makers) are not required to come with the borrower to his/her appointment. The appropriate paperwork can be brought to the cosigner following the appointment.
Can married cosigners each sign as a separate cosigner?
Married couples are considered one cosigner, therefore they cannot each be counted as a cosigner. Couples must show proof of legal separation to be considered as two separate cosigners.
Can my wife/husband cosign for me?
Married couples are considered one borrower, therefore a spouse cannot cosign on a loan.
Can my cosigners sign on two different loans?
As a general rule, we do not allow cosigners to sign on two different loan applications. However, there are exceptions to this rule, i.e. if parents with good credit & steady income want to cosign on JFLA student loans for two of their children. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you need further clarification.
What does “free” mean?
Interest-free. If you receive a loan from JFLA, you pay back exactly the amount you received. There are no fees or extra charges.
How do I apply for a loan?
Applying for a loan is simple. Loan applicants must have a clear and verifiable need for the loan (except for Jewish graduate and campership loans), and must secure one or two cosigners depending on the amount of the loan. Please review the entire FAQ section prior to proceeding with the loan process as it provides very useful information. Then go to the how to apply section to learn more about the application process.
How long does it take to receive the loan?
Once we receive all the required loan documentation (including filled out cosigner forms, copies of your cosigners’ drivers licenses and any additional required proof), it takes about a week to ten days for processing. The JFLA Loan Committee meets once a week to review loan applications. All loan requests are subject to approval; loans are not pre-approved or guaranteed.
What is the maximum loan amount you offer?
Loan amounts vary greatly depending on the specific need and loan program. The maximum amount we offer for emergency loans (rent, car repair, small medical or dental expenses, etc) is $3,000. For information about other loan amounts, please email email@example.com.
What is the minimum loan amount you offer?
JFLA does not have a minimum loan amount.
Types of Loans
What do you give loans for?
JFLA offers interest-free loans for emergencies, healthcare, small business, education, life cycle events, children with special needs, women & children in crisis and more.
What don’t you give loans for?
JFLA cannot assist with travel expenses (only exception is Israel Experience programs) debt consolidation, court or other legal fees, back taxes or parking/traffic tickets.
Do you accept walk in applicants?
Due to security restrictions, we cannot accept walk in loan applicants. You must call the L.A. office or the Valley office in advance to schedule an appointment with a JFLA loan analyst. If you come to our offices without an appointment, we will be unable to see you at that time.
Is it necessary to have an in-person interview to receive a loan?
Yes. We know that an in-person interview gives the client an opportunity to express his/her financial concerns and needs while allowing the JFLA loan analyst to fully explain the process and requirements. All information is confidential and all borrowers are treated with dignity and respect.
What do I need to bring with me to my appointment?
- California drivers license or California ID
- Social security card
- Proof of your current income (recent tax forms are acceptable if you do freelance work)
- Proof of rent
- If applicable, any additional proof of why you need the loan (medical or dental bill, car repair estimate, proof of student enrollment, etc.)
How long is the appointment?
If appointments are running on schedule, they typically run about 20-25 minutes. Due to strict building security and possible delays, please allow at least an hour for the entire appointment. If you have an appointment, plan to arrive at least 10-15 minutes early to park and go through security.
How are the loans repaid?
Loan payments for all loan programs are monthly. Payment amounts are determined on a case-by-case basis during the borrower’s interview with a JFLA loan analyst. Payments begin approximately 30-45 days after the loan check is issued (assuming the loan is approved).
What forms of payment do you accept?
We accept money orders, cashiers checks, personal checks, cash (in person only) or auto-deduct from your checking account (only if you sign up for the JFLA auto-deduct program). Unless you work for an agency under the Jewish Federation, we cannot deduct loan payments from your paycheck. *We do not accept credit card payments.*
Can I renew my loan before it’s paid off?
No. The only exceptions to this rule are our Jewish student loans. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org more information on the student loan process and if you qualify for a renewable student loan.
Once my loan is repaid, can I get another loan?
If you have paid your loan in a very timely manner and your last loan payment has cleared, you are eligible to reapply after a one month grace period. You must demonstrate need for another loan.
How can I sign up for or change my automatic deduction account on file?
To sign up for automatic deduction for loan repayments, click here to download the form and return it with a voided blank check to JFLA by fax to: (323)761-8841 or email to email@example.com. You may also mail it to: Natalie Shy, JFLA, 6505 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 715, Los Angeles, CA 90048. Please make sure to choose whether you want the deduction on the 5th or the 20th. Unfortunately we cannot accept payments from a savings account.
To update the bank account JFLA already has on file, please send a new voided blank check to JFLA by fax to: (323)761-8841 attn: Natalie Shy or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please allow 7 days before your deduction date for processing. We cannot guarantee your account will be updated if not received before that time. Please note, we will not update your account until your new bank account information is received. Please write your JFLA loan number on the check to ensure proper data entry.