Three years ago I co-signed a loan because my credit was better and the payments would be lower for the primary borrower. The primary borrower has been current on payments, and now wants to refinance and cut the monthly payments. Must I remain as co-signer if the loan is in good standing? Will co-signing affect my good credit rating?
The co-signer takes responsibility for repaying the loan if the primary borrower does not. If the lender cannot collect from the borrower, the co-signer must repay the loan plus late fees, interest, or other charges the lender adds.
There are two main effects on a co-signer’s credit score. First, it appears on a co-signer’s credit report, much like any other debt. If payment is late, for instance, that derogatory notation will appear on the co-signer’s credit report, lowering the co-signer’s credit score. This can happen well before the co-signer has any idea that there is a problem, as the co-signer does not often receive a monthly billing statement.
Secondly, because the co-signed loan shows on the co-signer’s credit report, it may prevent the co-signer from obtaining credit because the loan balance is included in the co-signer’s debt-to-income ratio. If a co-signer is planning to buy a house, car, or other large purchase during the life of the co-signed loan, it is a good idea to think about the implications. Even if all payments are made on time on the co-signed loan, the altered DTI may disqualify the co-signer.
You did not ask this question, but readers frequently ask how to remove themselves as loan co-signers. There are two ways I am aware of to accomplish this: First, the primary borrower must refinance the loan without a co-signer. This means the primary borrower must have a sufficient employment history, a credit score that satisfies the lender, and a low debt-to-income ratio. The second way is for the co-signer to file for bankruptcy. This is a drastic step, and should be attempted after consulting an attorney with experience in bankruptcy.
The primary borrower plans to refinance the loan you co-signed. You ask if the primary borrower will qualify alone, or if you need to co-sign again. That is impossible for me to answer given what you shared in your message. Every lender wants three qualities from a potential customer: Steady income, a relatively clean recent credit history, and a low debt-to-income ratio. If the primary borrower has these three qualities then you will not need to co-sign the refinance. If the primary borrower’s income history, DTI, or credit history has not improved from when the original loan was taken, then you will need to co-sign again.
As implied from the discussion above, co-signing a loan in and of itself does not harm a co-signer’s credit score. However, as discussed above, if the primary borrower does not make the monthly payments routinely or at all, then the co-signed loan will cause a significant negative impact on your credit score.
I hope this information helps you Find. Learn & Save.