Understanding the Loan Origination Process and Origination Fee for Personal Loans

Understanding the Loan Origination Process and Origination Fee for Personal Loans

Prospective borrowers need to go through the loan orgination process, also known as the application process, before they can successfully obtain a personal loan. Many lenders will charge an origination fee in the borrowing process, which can add up to be costly if you are not careful.

Understanding the loan origination process and related fees can help you make informed loan decisions and minimize the costs of taking out a loan. In this guide, we will review the key steps of the loan origination process and what fees you should know about.

The loan origination process explained

The loan origination process involves various steps required for any individual who wants to borrow money from a lender. Each lender has their own steps and requirements, but the main purpose of the origination process is to mitigate the risks and costs associated with lending money.

Here are the key steps to the typical loan origination process:

  1. Application
  2. Underwriting
  3. Loan decision (approval or denial)
  4. Loan closing and finalization
  5. Disbursement of loan funds

During all of these steps, you may be asked to provide various documentation and additional personal and financial information. Lenders will carefully assess your creditworthiness and financial stability when deciding whether to let you borrow money.


Key steps in the loan origination process

Step 1: Loan Application

To initiate the loan application process, you will need to fill out an application form, which may be done online or in person at the lender’s in-person branch. As you fill out the application form, you may need to provide various personal and financial details, such as:

  • Your income
  • Employment status
  • Address
  • Identification
  • Credit score and history
  • How much you want to borrow
  • The purpose of the loan

For loan applications, you will also need to consent to a hard inquiry, which is a credit check that will dip your credit score by up to five points.

Step 2: Underwriting

Underwriting refers to the lenders assessing the applicant’s creditworthiness, which is essentially how suitable you are to borrow money.

Step 3: Loan Approval or Denial

Step three is when the lender will either approve of your loan application or deny it. If you have been accepted, you will receive a loan offer.

Step 4: Loan Closing

Before the loan can be closed, the loan terms need to be finalized so both sides reach an agreement. You may want to negotiate the loan terms so that they are more favorable for you. After you sign the loan agreement, the loan will be closed and you can soon receive the loan funds.

Step 5: Loan Disbursement

The final step in the process is receiving your loan funds. The approved loan amount is typically disbursed into your bank account within five days of the loan agreement being signed.

In rare cases, your loan disbursement may be delayed, such as if there is an issue with the bank depositing the money or you live in a remote location. If you suspect there is a problem with your loan disbursement, you might want to reach out to the lender to confirm if the loan funds are on the way.

If you urgently require the loan funds, some lenders offer an expedited funding option based on your needs. You would need to pay an extra fee, but this is a popular choice for borrowers who are dealing with emergency expenses.


Loan origination fee

What is a loan origination fee?

The origination fee is a one-time charge that borrowers need to pay after their loan has been approved. This fee covers various administrative costs associated with processing the loan application on the lender’s end. It also covers expenses related to disbursing funds to borrowers and organizing all relevant paperwork.

How is the origination fee calculated?

Depending on your lender, the origination fee might either be a flat fee or a percentage of your total loan amount. If it is a flat fee, you might expect to pay a few hundred dollars. If it is a percentage, the fee you need to pay can vary significantly since it scales with your loan amount.

Commonly, origination fees are between 0.5% and 2%. However, you may be charged as much as 10% of your total loan amount if your credit score is low or the lender needs to cover more application expenses.

When is the origination fee charged?

The loan origination fee is usually charged in one of the two ways:

  • Upfront if your loan has been approved. If it is rejected, you should not need to pay this fee.

  • Added to the loan balance, in which case you will repay it along with the rest of your principal loan amount. In this case, you can expect a higher overall borrowing cost since interest may accrue on the origination fee

Origination fees for secured and unsecured personal loans

Secured personal loans are supported by valuable collateral assets, such as a car or house. Having collateral drastically reduces the risk on the lender’s part, so the origination fees of secured personal loans are often lower when compared to those of unsecured personal loans.

If you are seeking a large loan amount, you might want to consider comparing origination fees before taking out the loan. That way, you can try to avoid high origination fees that negatively impact the overall affordability of an otherwise suitable loan.

Factors affecting loan origination fee

How loan origination fees are calculated can vary greatly, and some lenders might not even charge an origination fee. Here are the common factors that influence the loan origination fees that are charged by lenders.

Borrower creditworthiness

When assessing your creditworthiness, lenders take into credit your credit score and credit history. If you have a high credit score, it suggests that you are reliable when it comes to repaying debt and managing finances.

Loan amount

Many lenders charge origination fees that are a certain percentage of your approved loan amount. In this case, the higher your loan amount, the more expensive the orgination fee regardless of it is paid upfront or over the course of your loan repayment term.

Loan tenure

If your loan origination fee is added to your loan balance instead of being charged upfront, your loan tenure can affect how much you pay in the long run. A longer loan term results in more interest accruing on the principal loan amount and the origination fee, whereas a shorter tenure means lower interest costs.


How to compare and negotiate different origination fees

When shopping for a personal loan, take note of what origination fee you might need to pay. By researching information about lenders and your desired loan type, you can be well-informed as you navigate the loan application process.

Here are some things to keep in mind in order to better negotiate different origination fees.

Research lenders and loan options

It’s a good idea to search for lenders who offer suitable loan amounts, interest rates, and origination fee structures before you start applying for personal loans.

Compare APRs, not just interest rate

The annual percentage rate (APR) conveys the total cost of borrowing the loan in a year. It takes into account interest rates, origination fees, and other costs associated with the loan.

Negotiate a lower fee

It may be beneficial to you to ask if there is any room for negotiating a lower origination fee. Some financial institutions and lenders are more lenient, especially if you have a strong credit profile and high credit score or if you have a pre-existing relationship with them.

Know your goals and limits

If the lender refuses to negotiate and the loan origination fee is too high, it may be a good idea to walk away and seek a better offer. In addition, showing that you are seriously considering competing offers may lead lenders to be more willing to negotiate with you.

Be professional and polite

Often, lenders are more willing to grant favorable terms and reduced fees to borrowers who are polite and professional. Having a respectful attitude while in negotiations with a loan officer can help you increase the chances of obtaining better terms for your loan agreement.

Managing loan origination fees

Since the loan origination fee can be fairly costly, it is advisable to consider different origination fees when you compare loan offers from competing lenders. Make sure you take into account how your lender calculates the loan origination fee and determine how much you will be charged based off of their specific method.

Here are a few options that can help borrowers either reduce or avoid origination fees altogether:

  • Find a lender without origination fees
  • Research lenders known for low origination fees
  • Consider finding a lender with flat rate fees
  • Weigh the value of going for a percentage-based origination fee

Loan origination process and origination fee comparison

The origination fee is meant to cover expenses for the lender across the loan origination process. If your loan is successfully approved and awaiting disbursement, you will need to pay the origination fee to cover the lender’s administrative and application-related costs.


Transparency and disclosures

Lenders are legally required to disclose the APR of the loan to you before you sign the loan agreement. They also need to provide you clear and complete details about your origination fee, as well as your loan terms and conditions.

Make sure that you carefully review the loan agreement documents before you lock in the contract by signing it. Read the loan disclosures and note down all the associated fees, rates, and potential penalties so you have a good idea of the cost of borrowing.

Here are common penalties and fees you should be aware of:

  • Origination fee
  • Prepayment penalties (if you pay the loan back early)
  • Late payment fees
  • If there is a timeframe during which you have the right to rescind the loan without incurring any penalties
  • Any costs related to renewing or refinancing the loan

If you are confused at any point, don’t hesitate to seek clarification from your lender so you fully understand all aspects of the loan application and approval process.

Responsible borrowing and financial planning

Personal loans are a fantastic way for individuals to finance meaningful purchases, deal with emergency expenses, and fund a wide variety of goals. However, loans do result in a debt burden for the borrower. The loan amount will be need to repaid over the loan tenure as interest accrues, and missing a loan payment can damage your credit score and financial health.

It is important to practice responsible financial planning and budgeting when managing your personal loan. When it comes to loan origination fees, make sure that you choose the option that is optimal for your individual circumstances.

If you are having trouble finding the best loan for your needs that is affordable and manageable, you might want to seek the guidance of a professional. Financial advisors and credit counselors can give you expert advice and help you devise a personalized financial strategy. This way, you can handle your loan debt more effectively.


Key takeaways

When you are approved for a personal loan, the lender may charge you a loan origination fee that covers costs throughout the loan application process (AKA the origination process).

The origination fee can cost you a significant amount of money, especially if it is percentage-based and you took out a large loan amount. On the other hand, an upfront fee may impede your ability to afford taking out the loan in the first place. Everyone’s situation is different, so assess your own capabilities and needs to see which origination fee option is preferable.

It is a good idea to stay proactive when applying for and managing personal loans. That way, you can make informed borrowing decisions, achieve more favorable loan outcomes, and potentially reduce your debt burden. Make sure that you compare loan origination fees, as well as other costs, before you accept a loan offer from any lender.

About The Author

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Ru Chen

Content Writer

Ru Chen is a content writer with several years of experience in creating engaging and well-researched articles. She mostly writes about business, digital marketing, and law. In her free time, she can be found watching horror movies and playing board games with her partner in Brooklyn.

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