What is Retail Lending? Definition, Type, 4 Facts About It

This is a topic outline for those who want to learn more about how to do loans in the retail space. This is a very niche area of lending. Most people have no idea it even exists. However, there are many great opportunities in this area.

We’ve all heard about payday loans. However, if you have the right type of loan, it can be a very good thing. So, let’s look at what retail lending is, and then see if it’s a good fit for your business.

What is Retail Lending?

Retail lending refers to direct lending to customers as opposed to companies or other organizations. Bank to consumer lending is the most common type of lending in the world, and it is handled by a wide range of financial institutions, including banks, credit unions, mortgage companies, and savings and loan organizations.

What is Retail Lending?

These establishments’ loans will almost certainly require security in the form of a pledged asset. However, there are some cases where the loans are “unsecured,” or without the lending institution requesting collateral.

Types Of Retail Lending

Mortgages are a common type of retail finance. Individuals that satisfy the qualifications can apply for and receive mortgage finance through this program.

The most typical prerequisites for securing a loan include a strong credit score, a consistent income, and a sustainable debt-to-income ratio; however, these will vary from lender to lender, even within the same nation.

When you take out a mortgage to purchase a home, the house itself acts as collateral until the loan is paid off. Retail lending also includes the supply of loans to suit a variety of monetary needs.

The vehicle itself is frequently used as collateral for a loan taken out to fund the purchase of an automobile. Personal loans are provided to clients for a number of purposes, including the payment of medical costs, the repair or enhancement of a home, and even a vacation.

If the borrower has a solid enough credit history and the loan terms allow it, some of these loans may be offered as unsecured loans.

What is Retail Lending?

A fresh sort of retail finance has lately emerged. This type of unsecured loan, sometimes known as a payday loan, is meant to bridge the gap between paychecks in the event of a financial emergency.

A payday loan is a short-term unsecured loan with a substantially higher interest rate than other types of lawful borrowing.

Although payday lenders’ interest rates are restricted by law in some locations, they remain far higher than those paid by banks and other conventional lending institutions.

In general, retail lending of this type should be considered only in severe instances, and only if the cash required to discharge the obligation can be reasonably expected to be in hand before the loan’s due date.

Retail Lending vs. Wholesale Lending

Through wholesale lending, the lender provides loans to mortgage brokers accessible at a lower cost. After then, the broker will add his commission to the lower wholesale rate.

The borrower’s final cost is frequently the same whether the lender is a wholesaler, wholesale broker, or retail lender.

What is Retail Lending?

Retail lenders handle all loan origination independently, whereas wholesalers rely largely on mortgage brokers. Caliber Home Loans, Inc. is one of several large banks and financial institutions that provide both retail and wholesale credit products.

Retail Lenders Wholesale Lenders
Provides loans directly to individuals and retail customers Underwrites loans for other lenders
Deals directly with the consumer Does not deal directly with the consumer
Underwrites the loan and services it in-house Offers the loan through a third-party

Direct-to-consumer retail lenders frequently handle loan origination as well as servicing in-house. They oversee the whole lending process, from locating new borrowers to processing applications and completing subsequent procedures such as underwriting and loan servicing.

Customers are not dealt with directly by wholesale lenders. They act as an underwriter for other financial institutions’ loans. In a mortgage loan application, a mortgage broker would act as an unbiased third party.

What is Retail Lending?

The role of a mortgage broker is to shop around for the best mortgage rate and conditions from several mortgage providers. The wholesale lender is the one who handles the loan underwriting, sets the interest rate, and funds the loan.

Established financial firms may offer both retail and wholesale loans. Both traditional and internet lenders have their advantages; you simply need to do your research to determine which one is best for you.

Wholesale or Retail: Is one better? 

Both secured and unsecured loans offer advantages, and the decision is ultimately made by the borrower based on their specific circumstances, degree of experience, and other criteria.

Working with a mortgage broker, on the other hand, may save a borrower the trouble of conducting independent research.

What Retail Lending Means for You

If you wish to apply for a loan with a retail lender, there are several advantages to consider.

Personalized Experience

Loan officers are the persons who deal with borrowers directly on behalf of retail banks. These professionals will work directly with you to analyze your needs and find appropriate loan choices. This is unique to retail loans as compared to wholesale loans.

What is Retail Lending?

Commissions for serving as a middleman between borrowers and wholesale lenders (or mortgage brokers in the latter case) are often calculated as a percentage of the total loan amount. The terms of the agreement may compel them to make judgments that are not in your best interests.

In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, the Dodd-Frank Act imposed harsher controls on retail lenders. Retail lenders face greater underwriting and disclosure requirements regarding the transparency of lending procedures. The quality of consumer loans has significantly improved.

Diverse Experience

Retail creditors have always handled a diverse spectrum of clients and underwritten a variety of loan types. In such a case, you may generally benefit from their knowledge and experience. Furthermore, they have most likely dealt with a wide range of difficult loan conditions.

What is Retail Lending?

May Have Local Connections

When partnering with a local bank, your lender may already have contacts in the community. That means they have access to a variety of information that can help you manage the lending process.


Retail lending is an easy way to borrow money for the purchase of a home or to fix up a property you have. When it comes to funding a renovation, this is your best option.

In addition to borrowing money for personal use, retail lending can also be used for business needs. This can include small equipment purchases like computers or printers, as well as larger items such as a new building or a restaurant franchise.

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Pat Moriarty
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