Having a criminal record can affect many areas of your life, even after you get out of jail, pay your fines, or complete your required probation. You may find it's tougher to get a job, and your record can affect other areas of your life as well.
Those with criminal records often find it difficult to get a bank to approve their loan applications, no matter the reason for the loan. Whether you're looking for a small business loan, a mortgage, or an auto loan, the bank will likely reconsider your application when it discovers you have a criminal record.
Some banks may reject your loan based solely on the fact that you once committed a crime. In other situations, the loan officer may ask you very personal questions regarding the crime, which could be embarrassing and uncomfortable for you.
Banks Do Discriminate Against Convicts?
Banks only approve loans when they believe the applicants can repay them. Therefore, they typically scrutinize loan applications, and any red flags that pop up usually result in a flat-out loan denial or a request for more information to make a decision.
Most banks ask loan applicants whether they were convicted of a crime other than a minor traffic violation. Those who answer "yes" often have their loans unapproved, even if the offense was minor and happened several years ago.
Some individuals and organizations, such as the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), argue that this practice is discriminatory. The NCRC evaluated seven banks and how they process small business loans and reported that banks considering applicants to be lending risks simply because they were once charged with a crime is "factually suspect" and discriminatory. It also may violate federal banking laws and discourage potential loan applicants from even applying.
What Can I Do?
One effective method to deal with your criminal record is to have it expunged. This will effectively erase your criminal record and seal it from public disclosure so that it will not impact your loan application.
New Jersey offers expungements as a way for those convicted of criminal offenses to have their records removed. However, expungements have their limitations, and you can only use them to remove one indictable conviction.
If you have a criminal record and find it hard to get a bank loan approval, or if your record is affecting other areas of your life and you want relief, you should contact Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Criminal Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm right away. We have extensive knowledge of the expungement process and can advise you of your options and help you through it if you qualify.