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Frequently Asked Questions

Loans FAQs

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There are pros and cons to both leasing and owning a vehicle. Leasing generally has lower monthly payments, while owning lets you build equity towards a vehicle you own. When you’re in the market for a new car, comparing the differences between leasing and owning will help you find the best option for you and your budget.

Purchasing a Vehicle

Financing a purchase of a car is fairly straightforward. You agree to a purchase price with the dealership, then decide if you want to finance tax and license or any of their loan protection products. Next, you choose a term for how long you wish to finance (usually 36-84 months). The lender sets the interest rate for the term and amount you are financing, which is generally most influenced by your credit history. Your monthly payments are calculated by the entire amount financed, the interest rate, and the length of your term.

Leasing a Vehicle

Leasing a vehicle is a little more complex. The dealership or lender establishes the residual amount, or estimated value of the vehicle at lease end, as well as the service charge factor dependent on the term of the lease. With longer lease terms, it is more difficult to accurately estimate the value of the vehicle – which generally makes the service charge factor higher. Predicting the value of a vehicle four or five years from now is difficult, since the sales market for given vehicle types can’t be controlled. However, other factors that influence the value of a vehicle, like mileage or longevity, can be controlled. That’s why almost all leases have annual mileage restrictions (usually 12,000 miles a year), and maintenance requirements for the leasee to maintain in order to keep the vehicle in good working condition.

Purchasing vs. Leasing Considerations

Will you keep the vehicle 3 or more years?

If you intend to keep the vehicle for several years, then purchasing is usually the better choice. While the monthly payments will generally be higher than with a lease, a portion of each monthly payment is paying down the principal balance on your loan. Over time, the amount between interest and principal converges and more of your monthly payment is allocated toward your principal balance and building equity in your vehicle. Assuming that the auto sales market stays relatively stable you will usually have enough equity to trade or sell your vehicle in three to four years. This gives you multiple options to build your financial wealth:

  • If you like the vehicle, continue to pay your monthly payments until you own it. Once the vehicle is yours, you won’t have a monthly payment, which frees up income to put towards other things.
  • If a new vehicle catches your eye, sell or trade in your car
  • If you do not intend to keep the vehicle for more than two to three years, then leasing will almost always be the better option. Generally you must pay the tax and license amounts up front in addition to the first monthly payment. This can range from $1,200 to $5,000; depending the amount of the vehicle. With a lease, you will not own the vehicle nor will you build equity; but you don’t need to worry about the stability of the sales market for that particular vehicle. At the end of your lease you will have a few options:
  • If you are ready for a new car, you can turn your leased vehicle in to the dealership or lender.  Assuming that you’ve stayed within the mileage restrictions, have no damage to the vehicle and have performed customary routine maintenance and there are no other lease terms; your obligations to the lease agreement are complete.
  • If you decide that you are in love with the leased vehicle and want to keep it, you can pay the residual amount (the amount that was agreed to at the beginning of the lease should you choose to purchase it after all of your lease payments have been made).  

What if you are still not sure? 

Request that the dealership provide a quote for financing both a lease and a term loan. Add up all of the payments, down payments and the residual amount to compare the lifetime cost of both options.  Sometimes visibility to total cost can help make the final decision.

It’s also helpful to consider the following:

  • Do you mind tracking mileage?
  • Do you have an alternate vehicle or transportation should you exceed the miles?
  • Do you normally repair dents, larger scratches or other non-regular wear & tear?
  • Do you prefer changing vehicles frequently?
  • Do you have an affinity for “owning” vehicles?
  • Do you like to customize your vehicles (new stereo, paint, after-market parts, etc)?

Answering these questions should help you make a decision on which option is right for you.


There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to purchasing a vehicle vs. leasing – it comes down to which option is right for you. Some people prefer the shorter lease term, while others want to build equity into something they own. Whether you decide to lease or buy, First Tech offers various loan options to make it happen.

Yes, we partner with Autoland so you can find the right car to fit your needs. This distinct auto buying service allows you to not only purchase new and pre-owned vehicles, but they also offer an excellent trade-in program.

Currently, Autoland Consultants service our Bay Area branch locations in California, as well as our branches in Portland and Salem. Through the Autoland phone center, we can assist members in all locations where we have branches, excluding Texas and Puerto Rico. You can contact Autoland directly at 800.234.6999 to speak with an expert consultant. Autoland consultants are available to assist 9am - 6pm M-F, and Sat from 9am - 2pm PT.

If you have any questions, contact us at 855.855.8805 or visit a location near you.

We understand that from time to time our members may incur financial hardships. If your financial situation has changed and you’re finding it difficult to make your First Tech mortgage or home equity loan payment timely, we may be able to help. It's important to consider all your options before risking possible foreclosure. You may be eligible for a:

  • Temporary payment reduction
  • Loan modification
  • Pre-foreclosure sale (also called a "short sale")

Getting started with your financial review

To determine the best possible way to assist you, we must review your financial situation. To do this, we need the following documents:

  • Signed Hardship Letter
  • Uniform Borrower Assistance Form
  • Signed 4506T-EZ
  • A pay stub(s) dated within the last 60 days representing one month’s household income (If all or part of household income is from business ownership (self-employed), include the last two years Federal tax returns; including all forms and schedules.)
  • Two years’ Federal tax returns
  • Declaration page of your homeowner’s insurance policy
  • Most recent three months’ bank statements
  • Most recent retirement statement(s) (401k, 403b, PERS, etc.)

In addition, you will need to complete the documents below so that we can determine which alternatives are best for you:

  1. Workout Program Application/Affidavit
  2. 4506-T Request for Transcript of Tax Return
  3. Monitoring Form

 Once completed, please fax the documents to 503.469.7739, Attention: Mortgage Workout Team or email documents to A Mortgage Workout Specialist will contact you by phone within five business days to discuss your application. Please call 855.855.8805 x4662 with any questions.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also offers counseling for homeowners whose mortgage loans have become delinquent. You can contact HUD at 1.800.569.4287 or TYY 800.877.8339.


Please feel free to call our Member Service Center at 855.855.8805 or visit a location near you.

All of our Mortgage Loan officers have an NMLS number. Please use this link to download a PDF document showing all numbers.

Purchase – First Tech offers fixed and adjustable rate mortgages for members interested in purchasing a home. First Tech has both conventional and jumbo home loan options.

Refinance – Refinance your current mortgage with First Tech. First Tech offers refinance options for members that want to lower their monthly payments, payoff the balance faster, remove private mortgage insurance or to consolidate debt.

Home Equity – First Tech offers both fixed-rate home equity and flexible line of credit loans.

Fixed-rate home loans are the most common type of mortgage. A fixed-rate home loan allows you to maintain the same principle and interest payment throughout the duration of the loan. You won't have to worry about rising interest rates.

A fixed-rate loan is right for you if you plan on staying your home for at least five years or appreciate the peace of mind provided by a payment amount that will never increase.

First Tech’s fixed-rate mortgages have no prepayment penalty and are offered in both conventional and jumbo loan amounts.

Find out more about fixed-rate mortgages.

A jumbo loan is one that exceeds the current conforming loan limit amount. In some higher priced areas of the country, it's often necessary to apply for a jumbo loan in order to finance a home.

For more information about these loans, talk to one of our Mortgage Loan Officers.


Adjustable rate mortgages, (also known as ARMs) are home loans with a fixed interest rate for a set number of years, with a rate that adjusts annually thereafter.  First Tech offers ARMs for a 5, 7, or 10 year term.

Click the link to find out more about adjustable rate mortgages offered by First Tech.

Mortgage pre-qualification is one of the first steps in the mortgage process. You supply your overall financial picture, including your debt, income, and assets. After evaluating this information, a lender can give you an idea of what you can afford as a homebuyer. Pre-qualification can be done in consultation with a loan officer and typically requires minimal documentation. However, it is not a guarantee that you will receive financing.

Click on the link to find more information on getting your mortgage pre-qualified.

The mortgage pre-approval process is a more in-depth review of your financial background. A pre-approval is helpful in establishing the amount of money you are qualified to borrow from your lender. This is the lender's commitment to lend to you based on assets, income and credit history.  You'll complete an official mortgage application and supply the lender with necessary documents. From this, you will receive a letter with the mortgage amount for which you have been pre-approved.

Not only will you know your budget for purchasing a home, you'll be a step ahead when it comes to securing your loan.

Many sellers prefer offers that have been pre-approved, since it provides a level of assurance that you are able to borrow a certain amount and can pay accordingly. Pre- approval isn't required to make an offer on a home, but it’s an advantage if the seller has multiple offers.

Click on the following link to find out more about mortgage pre-approval.

First Tech offers two different types of home equity loans based on the member needs:

The Flexity Line of Credit allows you to apply for a line of credit based on the value of your home. This line of credit gives you access to money when you need it. You can find more information about Flexity home equity line of credit by clicking on the link.

First Tech also offers fixed-rate home equity loans with terms of 5 to 20 years with a fixed interest rate and monthly payments. You can start your application for a fixed-rate home equity loan by clicking on the link.

Apply for a mortgage through our online application process. Visit our Mortgage Homepage to learn more about the home loan product that will best fit your needs or complete an online application today.

You can also schedule an appointment to speak with one of our Mortgage Loan Officers to discuss the home loan that best fits your needs.

Please send us a secure message from the Message Center in digital banking. Or contact our Mortgage Servicing team using one of the methods listed.

We have a few personal loan options depending on your needs. Whether it's braces for that perfect smile, a dream vacation, or a new deck on the house, you can get the money you need quickly with a personal loan. We offer great rates and flexible terms. And you won't have to waitweeks for an approval.

If you have any questions, contact us at 855.855.8805 or find a location near you.

You can apply for a loan online in just minutes, or by phone at 855.855.8805. First, check your credit. If everything is in order, including your debt-to-income ratio, determine how much you need to borrow and locate a loan that fits your needs.

Most loans are approved right away or within a business day, depending on the amount being financed and your overall credit and situation.

Your credit does not have to be perfect to qualify, but you should be aware of your credit score and the factors that can affect it. Visit our Financial Wellness Center for more information about credit scores.

We will need some form of identification, your name, address, employer information.

Call or email a member service representative at If you apply online you'll get an email with detailed information about next steps and how to check the status of your loan.