Over the last several years, getting personal loans in California has become far easier for consumers, even those with less than perfect credit. Individuals have the opportunity to get approval for a new personal loan in the state through a variety of lenders, but not all are created equal.
A recent article in the L.A. Times highlights the issues of high-interest personal loans, with short repayment periods and cost-prohibitive fees. While many Californians are using these types of loans when a significant financial need arises, seeking out a more conventional personal loan is often a better option.
The greatest benefit of California personal loans through a bank or credit union is that these financial institutions operate under a strict set of regulations by the state. This means there are caps on the interest rates charged, as well as a general guideline for the terms offered for each loan.
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Online Personal Loans for Residents of California
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Companies That Offer California Personal Loans
If you would like to compare our top picks for personal loans—all of which can be applied for completely online—you should check out our Best Personal Loans page.
If you are mainly interested in California-based lenders, you can find several traditional banks and credit union personal loans in California below.
Be sure to evaluate the repayment terms, interest rate, and any other costs associated with a personal loan before submitting an application or accepting loan proceeds.
- Northern California National Bank
- California Bank and Trust
- First California Federal Credit Union
- California Coast Credit Union
Northern California National Bank
Fixed Interest Rate
Phone & In-Person
As a smaller community bank, Northern California National Bank is a newer option for customers in and around Butte County. The bank was founded in 2006, and since that time has grown into a full-service financial institution offering deposit accounts, business loans, and personal loans to individuals.
A personal loan through Northern California National Bank currently gives borrowers access to a fixed-interest loan with repayment extending up to three years. Loan amounts offered are based on the credit history of the borrower, as are interest rates. Borrowers have access to a lending professional during the application process to ensure they are receiving the best possible loan for their situation. Applications are submitted in the branch or by contacting a consumer loan representative by phone.
California Bank and Trust
Up to $250,000
Secured or Unsecured
Phone & In-Person
Operating as a division of Zions Bancorporation, California Bank and Trust has been welcoming banking customers for more than 60 years. The financial institution offers a variety of products and services, including individual personal loans to qualified borrowers.
Personal loans through California Bank and Trust are available up to $250,000, depending on the credit history and income of the borrower, and the reason for the loan. The personal loans offered could be either secured or unsecured.
Applications are submitted at a branch location or over the phone, with borrowers required to provide their Social Security number, address, and gross monthly income in the process. All borrowers must be California residents.
First California Federal Credit Union
Phone & In-Person
Established in 1924, the First California Federal Credit Union has been a staple in the Fresno County community. The credit union provides access to several financial accounts, lending solutions, and financial services, including individual personal loans.
Through the credit union, borrowers may receive a personal loan with an interest rate presently as low as 7.99 percent. The credit union also offers longer repayment terms, extending up to 48 months, but the interest rate will be higher. Borrowers must be members of the credit union before applying, and applications are submitted either in a branch location or over the phone. All borrowers are evaluated based on their credit history, score, and verifiable income.
California Coast Credit Union
$500 – $30,000
Secured or Unsecured
Phone & In-Person
California Coast Credit Union was founded in 1929, and now serves the communities of San Diego and Riverside with a variety of financial products and services. At this time, the credit union offers personal loans with fixed interest rates and fixed repayment terms extending up to 60 months, based on the total loan amount and credit history of the borrower.
Loan amounts on the unsecured “Signature Loan” range from $500 up to $30,000, and interest rates are currently as low 7.88 percent. Alternatively, borrowers could use the low interest “Secured Signature Loan” using savings, CDs, or money market deposits as collateral. The credit union requires all borrowers to submit an application either online or by contacting a loan specialist at a branch or by phone. Borrowers must have verifiable income to qualify, as well as a strong credit history. Membership with the credit union is also required.
Verifying Lender Legitimacy in California
The California Department of Business Oversight requires the majority of finance companies and lenders providing individual personal loans to be licensed and registered with the state. Under these regulations, legitimate lenders are issued a license number that often appears on their website or on printed material in branch locations. If the license number is not apparent, consumers can visit the CDBO website and search for a company to check its lender legitimacy.
Consumer Protection in California
The unfortunate reality for consumers today is there are countless scamsrevolving around lending and financial services. Scammers take personal information from prospective borrowers for a variety of reasons, but it can be devastating when these details are used for reasons other than a loan application or approval.
Consumers in California can take steps to protect themselves from lender scams by checking the legitimacy of the financial institution as mentioned above. If a loan experience is not in-line with state regulations or it seems the financial institution is not operating in a legal manner, consumers may file a complaint with the California Department of Business Oversight online or via mail. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau also receives complaints against finance companies, but the first recourse is the California government.
Consumer Lending Licensing Process in California
Any company wanting to offer California personal loans to individual consumers is required to have a license with the California Department of Business Oversight. The licensing process involves an in-depth application that gathers details including financial statements, the net worth of the business or individual, and related business practices. Once submitted, the application is reviewed for accuracy, and a non-refundable fee of $300 is charged.
Companies offering personal loans in California must also secure a $25,000 surety bond to finalize their license. This helps protect consumers against financial loss should the lender not comply with state laws. Once a finance company is approved for a California lender license, it must maintain the bond and financial statements throughout its operation, as well as update the state when new branch locations are established.
Author: Melissa Horton
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