Vetting Private Loans

by Peter Rizzo

Life Settlements in a Retirement Account? Think Again.

Private lending is extremely popular with our Check Book IRA and Solo 401(k) Clients. With the tightening of banking regulations and the myriad of regulations there are good people and projects that turn to private lenders for their loans.

The private lender can react quickly and often times relies on character as much as a FICO score. I’ve made many loans that were successful, but I found when I didn’t completely vet a loan, I ended up regretting it. Vetting a private loan investment involves assessing the borrower’s creditworthiness, evaluating the terms and conditions of the loan, and analyzing the associated risks.

Here are some steps to consider when vetting a private loan investment:

  1. Evaluate the Borrower: Assess the borrower’s creditworthiness and financial stability. Request financial statements, credit reports, and other relevant documentation to understand their income, assets, liabilities, and repayment history. Consider factors such as credit score, debt-to-income ratio, employment stability, and any potential red flags.
  2. Review Loan Purpose: Understand the purpose of the loan and assess its viability. Determine how the borrower intends to use the funds and evaluate whether the purpose aligns with their financial goals and capacity to repay. For example, financing a business expansion might be more promising than a loan for speculative investments.
  3. Examine Loan Terms: Scrutinize the terms and conditions of the loan. Evaluate the interest rate, repayment schedule, duration, collateral (if applicable), and any associated fees. Compare the terms to prevailing market rates and industry standards. Ensure that the terms are fair, reasonable, and align with the risk profile and return expectations.
  4. Assess Collateral (if applicable): If the loan is secured by collateral, evaluate its value and quality. Conduct an independent assessment or hire a professional appraiser to determine the collateral’s worth and ensure it adequately covers the loan amount in case of default.
  5. Conduct Due Diligence: Perform comprehensive due diligence on the borrower. Verify their identity, legal standing, and credibility. Request references and contact them to gain insights into the borrower’s reputation and track record.
  6. Evaluate Repayment Capacity: Analyze the borrower’s ability to repay the loan. Consider their income, cash flow, existing debt obligations, and any potential risks or challenges that could affect their repayment capacity. Assess their business model, market conditions, and other relevant factors that may impact their ability to generate sufficient income.
  7. Review Legal and Regulatory Compliance: Ensure that the loan agreement complies with applicable laws, regulations, and licensing requirements. Engage legal professionals to review the loan documentation and verify its legality and enforceability.
  8. Consider Risk Mitigation: Assess the risks associated with the loan investment and consider ways to mitigate them. For example, diversifying your loan portfolio by investing in loans with varying risk profiles and industries can help spread risks. Additionally, loan structures that offer collateral or personal guarantees provide additional security.
  9. Seek Professional Advice: Consult with financial advisors, lawyers, or loan specialists who can provide expert guidance. They can assist in evaluating the loan investment, identifying potential pitfalls, and ensuring compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.
  10. Document and Monitor: Document all aspects of the loan investment, including the loan agreement, terms, and any ongoing communications with the borrower. Regularly monitor the borrower’s repayment performance and stay informed about any changes in their financial circumstances.

Remember that private loan investments involve a degree of risk, and it’s crucial to conduct thorough due diligence before committing funds. Seek professional advice when necessary and carefully evaluate the potential risks and returns associated with the investment. Any questions feel free to reach out to or you can set a time for a call here.


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    1 Comment

    1. Abi Dorhosti

      Question: How does one find such opportunities? I’m looking for a private loan, but I have no idea how to reach investors with my proposal. (My credit score is over 800, and the loan will go towards building a community and retreat center that will support veterans and the local community… seems like a no-brainer, but since the center is being built in Costa Rica its a no-go for traditional lending institutions).