Braxton Citizens' News, Opinion

Times have changed…

As I approach my 74th birthday, you don’t have to explain to me how things have changed over the years. I’m old, but my memory is still good. Recently I have been involved in a matter that really concerns me.

Our adopted granddaughter, who will complete nursing school in March, recently had an accident and totaled her car. The vehicle wasn’t much, in fact Jeanine and I had given it to her as a Christmas gift a few years ago, but it provided basic transportation which she needed for school and her parttime job.

In replacing the vehicle, a family member had an extra vehicle and agreed to sell it to Sierra. Since we had experienced a problem with Maddie when she graduated college, I thought it might be good for Sierra to take out a short-term loan for the replacement car.

When Maddie graduated and went to move into an apartment in Morgantown, she discovered that she didn’t have any credit which caused some issues with the leasing agency. That was resolved, but I thought that with Sierra looking at graduation and very little in the way of a credit foundation, a car loan, paid off early, would be just the thing.

I made some inquires… the first bank I talked to seemed very favorable. When Sierra went to get the loan application… they informed her that they didn’t loan money on a vehicle older than 2017. When I made additional inquires the options were to pay 18+% interest or put the same amount of money she hoped to borrow in a savings account as collateral. Neither of those options made much sence to me. How can most college students afford a $10,000 to $20,000 car plus insurance?

I contacted a second local financial institution which basically said it would be no problem. They had Sierra come in and helped her fill out the loan application. The next day they called and asked if I would be willing to co-sign the loan since she had a very new and short credit history. I agreed. When the paperwork came, the rate was 13+% and they wanted to make the loan for more than what she ask for and stretch it out over a longer period of time. In short, Sierra would be paying almost double the purchase price.

Well, the end result was that we opted not to finance the car though a bank. My issue is with terms and conditions like what we have encountered, how will young people ever be able to establish credit. 

I grew up in a different era. Nolan Hamric at the Bank of Gassaway once told me that he loaned money on his “gut feeling” of whether the individual would pay it back or not. Those days are certainly gone, but what are young people supposed to do as they embark into the real world which is very very expensive. How do they buy a car, a house if financial institutions are not willing to take a chance on them?

In our situation, Sierra will have another car to get her to her clinical assignments and to work. Her method of payment won’t show up on her credit score so unfortunately, help in that area will have to wait for another day.