First Choice Community Credit Union
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Loan Prep School  

A teacher sitting at a desk in front of a green chalkboard You'd never send your kids to school without doing their homework. So why would you buy a car without doing yours?

At First Choice we believe that an informed customer makes a better customer. That's why we’re here to help you when purchasing your next vehicle. For example, though it's not considered good practice to let a dealer know what your target monthly payment is, setting a target does help you from a budgeting standpoint.  And it helps you to define your price range once you have used our online loan calculator, to estimate the amount you can finance based on given interest rate and repayment terms. Armed with this information, you will be a more focused shopper.

Other ways that we can help you before you go to the dealer include:

  • determining NADA values of your trade-in, if applicable
  • looking up the NADA value of vehicles you are thinking about purchasing
  • Pre-qualifying you for a loan amount
  • Taking you through the steps necessary to get your loan approved and closed

If you prefer to do your own investigation on the vehicle you want to purchase, you may look up values at And once you have the vehicle identification number (VIN), you can even research a car's history at (Note: By clicking on this link, you are accessing information provided by Carfax. If you conduct business here, you are conducting business with Carfax and not First Choice. Privacy and security policies at Carfax may be different than ours.) 

Once you’ve decided on a vehicle, you need to complete an application that will initiate the loan review process.  You may do this online via our secure server, in person at any one of our four locations or by phone

Once you have decided on a vehicle and completed an application, here are some things you can do to facilitate the review, final approval, and loan closing:

  • If buying from a dealer, have the dealer fax a copy of the deal sheet or buyer’s order to loan services at 865-637-0777. This document contains information about the vehicle and the terms of your deal that are critical to the final lending decision.
  • If buying from an individual, determine whether the seller has a clear title to the vehicle or if it is still financed with another lending institution. Then, if…

    …seller has clear title, make sure the title is in the seller’s name. The reviewing loan officer will need to see either the actual title or legible photocopies of the front and back to confirm that the title is free and clear of any liens.

    …seller still owes on vehicle, ask seller to acquire a 10-day payoff and payoff instructions, including seller's loan account number, the name of the financial institution and payoff address. If possible, have the seller accompany you to the closing or make arrangements for the reviewing loan officer to inspect the vehicle on or before closing.

  • In order to determine your interest rate and credit worthiness, the reviewing officer will obtain a credit bureau report from Equifax.  If you know of questionable or incorrect items on your report that might affect your ability to get the loan, such as paid collections that show as unpaid, you can speed the review process by having written proof of the correcting action taken.  The reviewing loan officer may need this documentation for your file.
  • Any vehicle financed with First Choice must have full insurance coverage. Have proof of this coverage with First Choice as the lienholder or loss/payee available for the reviewing loan officer on or before the loan closing. Failure to provide this proof could cause a delay in the closing or cause the loan not to go through. Remember this insurance must be in force throughout the term of the loan.
  • Under certain circumstances, the reviewing loan officer may ask for proof of income. Typically, you can satisfy this requirement by supplying a copy of your most recent pay stub. A self-employed individual may be asked to furnish two years of income tax returns. Again, this information, if requested, should be made available on or before the loan closing.

After the loan closing, please call us with any questions or problems that might arise over the term of your loan. We’ll be there to help.

Then when you’re ready to trade up or need an additional vehicle, just give us a call and we’ll work together to make your next loan request a success.