CornerStone Personal Loans Review
Although Cornerstone Bank has only operated under its current name since 2017, its experience in the banking industry dates back to 1848. CornerStone was formed when SpencerBANK, which opened in 1871, and Southbridge Savings Bank, which opened in 1848, merged to better serve the Central Massachusetts community. Headquartered in Worcester, Massachusetts, CornerStone currently operates 13 branch offices across the central Massachusetts area. With a core mission to become the trusted financial partner within the communities where its branches operate, CornerStone provides personal loans and other financial services with a focus on high-quality customer service.
What we like about it
Cornerstone Bank offers a customer promise of “Built on Trust” to demonstrate its commitment to building relationships within the community. To build on this promise, it regularly makes charitable donations to businesses and programs within the local area, and concierge-level customer service remains at the forefront of its banking model.
Customers looking for personal loans can take advantage of multiple repayment terms, and customers who already have accounts with Cornerstone Bank can benefit from the company’s rewards and referral programs for repeat customers. Once a loan has been issued, customers can receive a 0.5% interest rate discount when registering for autopay.
If you are planning energy-efficient upgrades to your home, you may be able to secure some particularly attractive lending options. As a partner in the Mass Save® HEAT Loan program, Cornerstone offers 0% interest financing on qualifying home improvements, such as solar hot water systems, energy-efficient thermostats, Energy Star® windows and more.
Things to consider
Since Cornerstone’s 13 branches are all located in the central Massachusetts area, customers who live elsewhere should be comfortable with remote or self-service management. Payments can be made remotely by mail, online or through bank transfer and customers will have access to an online portal for managing their loan, but no in-person services are accessible outside of central Massachusetts.
The company’s personal loans are simple and straightforward but lack many bonus features or discounts available through other lenders. Although there are other loan options for motorcycles, cars and other vehicles, personal loans for other uses, such as vacations or home improvement projects, are limited to $2,000. Customers in need of larger loan amounts will likely need to work with a different lender.
What you need to know
To get approved for Cornerstone personal loans, customers must have a minimum 680 credit score to qualify and need no more than $2,000 unless the loan is for a qualifying home improvement through the Mass Save® program. Cornerstone personal loan rates vary from 12.5-15%, depending on credit scores and loan amounts. Term lengths range from 30 days to three years, so customers will have some flexibility on repayment terms. Once approved, Cornerstone does not charge any early repayment penalties, but late payment fees may apply.
All Cornerstone personal loans are unsecured, so customers cannot provide collateral to lower interest rates or qualify for higher loan amounts. While the financial institution does offer auto and mortgage loans, any other collateral for secured loans would not be accepted.
To secure a personal loan, customers should take the following steps:
- Gather all loan documentation, including proof of identity and income verification
- Submit a loan application online or in-person at one of the 13 Cornerstone branch locations
- Work with a loan specialist to finalize the application
- Sign all the final paperwork to secure the loan upon approval
- Set up an online account through the Cornerstone Bank portal for easy account management
Once your loan is approved, payments can be made easily online through the account portal, via automatic bank transfer, in person at any Cornerstone branch office or by mail.
Collateral and criteria
Since Cornerstone doesn’t offer secured personal loans, no collateral will be needed at the time of application. Customers must have a minimum 680 credit score to be approved, so customers with credit challenges will need to find a co-signer or look for loan options with other institutions.
Cornerstone Bank offers short-term personal loans with 30-day, 60-day or 90-day terms and long-term personal loans of up to 3 years, so borrowers should be prepared to repay any amount borrowed within those time frames.
Cornerstone vs. Truliant Credit Union
For customers who need personal loans with a bit more flexibility, Truliant Credit Union offers personal loans with considerably more options than Cornerstone. Truliant has 34 branches across North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, although they also provide easy remote options for customers in other locations. Customers needing larger loan amounts can borrow up to $35,000 with Truliant’s personal loans, and interest rates on Truliant’s loans range from 8.49% to 14.74% APR. For added flexibility, customers can choose repayment terms up to 72 months, and Truliant offers a unique 90-day deferral period for qualifying customers before the first loan payment is due.
Cornerstone vs. LightStream
Lightstream is an online lender, so customers who prefer the personal connection of a local branch office might be happier working with Cornerstone Bank. However, LightStream offers more repayment options and loans up to $100,000, making it a better fit for larger financial needs. Additionally, LightStream does work with borrowers who have credit scores below 680, but interest rates for borrowers with lower credit scores can be as high as 19.99% for some loan amounts and repayment terms.