Legal Funding vs Bank Loans

What’s the Difference?

Legal Funding vs Bank Loans

Legal Funding vs Bank Loan: What’s The Difference?

“Lawsuit loans”, “legal loans”, and “settlement loans” are just a few of the names that are used interchangeably by people to mean ”legal funding”.

There are several important differences that distinguish non-recourse legal funding from traditional bank loans.

When someone is injured and files a personal injury lawsuit, financial challenges are quite common.

It makes sense. Decreased income from working less or not at all. Increased expenses paying doctors, co-pays, medical procedures, tests, prescriptions, etc.

The result is as predictable as it is inevitable: They begin to fall behind almost immediately.

Conventional wisdom says, “Get a loan”. Reality says, “You can’t get a loan with bad credit; get legal funding instead.”

So what’s the difference? And why does it matter?

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What Is a Loan?

When a person borrows money from a bank or other financial institution, it is called a loan, and the person is called a borrower.

Several key characteristics define a loan:

  1. Repayment is absolute; there is no circumstance under which full repayment of all principle, all interest, all fees, and all penalties is not required, and is not legally enforceable
  2. A pre-determined repayment schedule is absolute; any late or missed payments result in financial penalties and potentially, significant legal consequences as well
  3. A pre-determined final repayment date is absolute; if the loan is not repaid in full on or before the final repayment date, it will result in financial penalties and potentially, significant financial and legal consequences as well
  4. Approval requires excellent credit, verifiable income, and verifiable employment with a solid and verifiable work history
  5. Approval requires collateral; usually real estate
  6. Non-payment results in forfeiture of collateral, plus serious legal and financial consequences including judgments, wage garnishment, property forfeiture, etc.
  7. Has the potential to cause decades of bad credit

The loan approval process can be tedious, complicated, nerve-wracking, time-consuming, and often disappointing.

  • To start things off, the bank will try to pre-qualify or disqualify the borrower by ordering their credit reports and credit scores. The bank will then scrutinize the entire 7 to 10-year credit history on all three credit reports.
  • Any derogatory information is a red flag and is usually an automatic deal-killer.
  • Assuming they pass the initial credit check, the bank will require proof of, and then review and verify, all income sources and amounts for accuracy. They will also require proof of current income plus all checking, savings, investment, and retirement account balances, and their histories.
  • Then they will repeat the entire process to review and verify employment history. The bank will also confirm that the applicant is currently employed and in good standing.
  • Next, the bank will order, and then scrutinize, a background check on the applicant.
  • They will also look for any life insurance policies over $150,000 or other assets the applicant may have failed to divulge on their application.
  • After that, the bank will scrutinize, verify, and appraise the applicant’s house, personal assets, real estate, or other collateral. Collateral, by the way, cannot be sold, given away, or otherwise disposed of while the loan is active.
  • Once approved, the borrower will sign a legally binding contract which obligates them to pay back, on a pre-determined, non-flexible monthly schedule, the entire principle, plus all fees and penalties, plus interest, no matter what.
  • After the borrower accepts the money, their monthly repayment obligation begins almost immediately.

If even a single payment over the entire term of the loan is late, they incur a penalty fee. The delinquency is also reported to the credit bureaus which can damage their credit scores.

  • If hardship strikes and they are late again or miss a payment, they incur more fees and penalties, and the borrower’s credit scores begin their long, slow decline.
  • The borrower is then threatened with default if they do not pay the missed payments immediately.
  • If they are ever unable to make their payments, for any reason whatsoever – sickness, death, disability, plague, unemployment, global pandemic, federal or state-mandated stay-at-home orders – the bank can declare the borrower in default and accelerate the loan.
  • Accelerating a loan means the bank has exercised its legal right to demand full repayment of the entire outstanding loan balance immediately.
  • When the borrower is unable to pay the full balance, the bank will then seize and take legal ownership of all property pledged as collateral. They will sell the property to recoup their money, and the borrower is powerless to stop any of this.
  • If the collateral sells for less than the balance owed, it is called a deficiency. The bank’s lawyers will then go to court, provide evidence that the borrower defaulted on the loan, and that their collateral was insufficient.
  • The judge will issue a deficiency judgment to the bank. The bank will, of course, report it to the credit bureaus to further destroy the borrower’s credit.
  • The judgment also includes an insidious stipulation that allows the bank to accrue and collect a state-mandated interest rate (usually 8% to 12% per year) on the outstanding balance. This interest will continue to increase and bloat the balance for as long as the debt remains unpaid.
  • Also, from that point on, the bank has the legal authority to monitor, track down, seize, and sell all items of value that the borrower owns.
  • Judgments are renewable every seven years, so it is conceivable that the borrower will be haunted and hunted, for repayment of the loan for the remainder of their life.

That’s it. THAT is what a loan is, exactly.

What Is Legal Funding?

Due to the inherent simplicity of legal funding, this will be a much shorter explanation.

Several key characteristics define a lawsuit cash advance:

  1. Repayment is NOT absolute; repayment is contingent upon successful resolution of the underlying claim.
  2. The repayment schedule is NOT absolute; no repayment schedule exists because no monthly payments are required.
  3. The final repayment date is NOT absolute; the repayment date will be determined only after the case has been concluded successfully.
  4. Low credit scores and bad credit is irrelevant.
  5. Approval relies on the strength and merit of the underlying lawsuit.
  6. Real estate collateral is NOT required.
  7. Non-payment is permissible if the case is not resolved successfully and will NOT result in forfeiture of collateral or severe legal and financial consequences, including judgments, wage garnishment, property forfeiture, etc.
  8. Legal funding has zero impact on the plaintiff’s credit.

Plaintiffs can apply for funding by completing an application online. Or, if they prefer, they can call (877) 932-2628, and a funding specialist will be glad to help.

The approval process can be completed very quickly, often within 4 to 24 hours.

  • A request for case information is sent to the attorney’s office.
  • An underwriter – a licensed, practicing attorney or trial lawyer – will review the case information.
  • The underwriter establishes a gross settlement value (GSV).
  • The GSV, minus all case-related expenses, is the anticipated net value (ANV).
  • TriMark can advance up to:
    • 20% of ANV on pending cases
    • 50% of ANV on settled cases
  • Paperwork is signed and returned.
  • Funds are disbursed.
  • After case is resolved successfully, the plaintiff’s attorney sends a check for the balance owed. 
  • If not resolved successfully, the plaintiff keeps the advanced funds and has no obligation to repay anything.

That’s it. THAT is what legal funding is, exactly.

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