If you owe money to a credit union, they usually have a clause in their borrowing contract that any collateral you have given them, such as the car title, or a second mortgage on your house, is collateral for any other loans such as personal loans. It is what’s known as a cross-collateralization clause.
Let’s say that you made a credit union loan for $3,000 and it was a personal loan and you had no collateral. Then you financed a car using a credit union loan, and you have $25,000 on that loan.
Look at your credit union papers when you made that vehicle loan. You don’t owe $25,000 on that loan; you owe $28,000, because there is a clause in small print that says any loan you have with them, is collateralized by the vehicle.
Let’s say that you have a second mortgage with your credit union, and you take out a car loan, but then the car is wrecked and the insurance would only pay $15,000 but you owe $20,000. So the insurance pays the credit union $15,000 but you still owe $5,000. Since the car is destroyed, it is no longer collateral for the car loan, but since there is a cross-collateralization clause, you will pay $5,000 if it is secured by the second mortgage on your house. Even if you pay off the second mortgage, you have to pay off that $5,000 on the car loan, plus interest until you pay it off.
Credit unions claim that they keep their interest rates are low because they have less losses than other lenders. One way they have less losses is by scaring you, and posting the names of anyone who causes them a loss, by not paying back 100% of what they owe, either on the credit union website or on a bulletin board at the credit union, or both. That is called "credit shaming." It is pretty nasty, but it’s a fact of life with credit unions.
So, under Chapter 7, if you have a vehicle and you want to keep it, and it’s financed by a credit union, they will want the vehicle back unless you sign up on the vehicle loan and any other loans you have with them. Under Chapter 13, they are a secured creditor on cross-collateralized loans.
So, the most common case involving credit unions is that if you want to keep the vehicle financed by them, or you have a second mortgage financed with them, no other loans, it’s pretty routine: In Chapter 7 you reaffirm, in Chapter 13 simply pay them according to the contract terms.
The complication comes in where you have multiple loans with them and that’s something we can discuss with you, but please, go get a copy of each credit union loan so we can read the paperwork and see if there is a cross-collateralization clause. You can also stop by the credit union, and ask them for a copy of the papers and ask them if the loans are crossed with each other. Then you’ll know and can make an intelligent decision. Geraci law can help you make that decision.
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