LendingUSA: The At-Need Funding Solution That Pays You, Not the Other Way Around
Picture this: You’re at the arrangement table, surrounded by grieving family members. The deceased had no life insurance and no preneed, so, predictably, the first question you get is, “How much is this going to cost?”
How about, instead of replying, “Our average package is $9,000, but it can be as low as $895 with a direct cremation,” you say, “We can help you create a beautiful, personalized funeral service for your mother for around $200 a month with qualifying credit, and you’ll also have the opportunity to pay the balance in full within six months interest-free.”
Imagine the sighs of relief around the table as this family realizes they have options — options for paying for their loved one’s services over time on affordable terms as well as options for having the service they really wanted but didn’t think they could afford. You can give your families these options with LendingUSA.
Solutions for families, revenue for you.
LendingUSA offers simplified financing to their patients and clients. By listening to deathcare professionals across the country, LendingUSA designed and continues to enhance at-need funding solutions that are customized for funeral homes and crematories and the families they serve.
One of those innovative customizations is something that’s basically unheard of in deathcare — or in any industry, for that matter: 101% funding, with the 1% benefitting the funeral home.
“Every time a funeral home finances a funeral or a family member finances their portion of the cost of a funeral through us, we fund the funeral home 101% of the loan amount,” explains David Rueda, LendingUSA Executive Vice President. “Credit card companies are charging 2% or 3% of the transaction amount. With LendingUSA, the funeral home has a net benefit of 4% that goes directly to the bottom line, and families have the option to pay us within the first six month with zero interest.”
Paying deathcare partners rather than charging them for using LendingUSA’s services was a bold innovation — one that’s been widely embraced and appreciated by LendingUSA clients.
“During a recent webinar we heard a great testimonial from a funeral home owner,” Rueda recalls. “She said, ‘Just wanted to say thank you for the 1%. My hesitation to use LendingUSA was when I was getting paid under the loan amount if the client was a high risk loan. We’ve been using your service more as a result of this new incentive.’”
A different, less difficult conversation
Rueda says LendingUSA recognizes that families need time — time to figure out how they’re going to pay for the services they choose. A loan from LendingUSA works much like a bridge loan, giving them the opportunity to figure out their finances.
“It’s an unexpected, expensive event,” Rueda says. “Who are we kidding if we say $8,000 is a drop in the bucket? It’s uncommon to have $8,000 lying around waiting for something like this to happen. It’s easier not to think about funeral expenses as a one-time cost. Think about delivering the service your families are expecting while feeding the cost of these services into a monthly budget and a family’s monthly cash flow.”
Gauging the option of financing by the monthly payment amount isn’t a new concept. Mortgages, vehicle loans, and loans for other large expenses are often advertised by the “payments as low as” estimate because most personal budgets are set up on a monthly basis.
Low monthly payments and a six-month interest free offer aren’t the only tools LendingUSA provides for deathcare professionals to ease the financial burden of at-need expenses for their families. LendingUSA’s new instant prescreening system also alleviates potentially difficult conversations.
“We introduced a tool we developed with TransUnion that allows funeral directors to massively simplify their process and reduce the friction between them and their families,” Rueda explains. “Before, directors had to request a lot of information that wasn’t pertinent to the funeral — Social Security numbers, income, etc. That’s a friction point, especially during the hardest conversation a lot of people will ever have. We’ve provided a tool for instant prescreening with just a name and address.”
Overcome “price resistance”
Deathcare professionals know that no arrangement conversation is exactly the same. In addition to the growing personalization of services, there are usually multiple considerations when it comes to the way families want to pay — especially if there are multiple responsible parties. For example, three siblings may prefer to pay the funeral home in three different ways — one with cash, one with a credit card, and the other through a financing plan.
LendingUSA lends to the borrower for their participation in the funeral. This means that more than one loan can be issued to pay for one funeral, and the entire funeral expense doesn’t have to be financed. Rueda believes that the availability of flexible payment arrangements is a feature on which deathcare professionals could capitalize.
“The focus has been on arranging the service that best fits what the family wants,” he says. “But as part of that service, I feel like it’s a disservice not to publicize how easy it can be to arrange the service the family desires by showing them all of the payment tools that they have.”
This flexibility could mean that a family chooses to have more services provided by the funeral home rather than by third parties. Instead of using the funeral home for direct cremation, then paying a third party to rent another space for a memorial service, families may choose to have their services at the funeral home so that all of the expenses will be bundled and aggregated into one monthly payment.
LendingUSA is a full-service loan provider. After funding the loan to the funeral home, LendingUSA takes over the servicing of the loan — including collections. Families have the peace of mind that their personal financial situations aren’t being shared with their neighborhood funeral director due to privacy laws. By disassociating a funeral home from the payment and collections aspect of the loan, LendingUSA takes responsibility for those difficult conversations, and families can return to that funeral home without worrying about any stigma associated with previous payment difficulties.
Funeral financing, “simplified”
Rueda and the LendingUSA team strive to make funeral financing as simple as possible for everyone involved. From straightforward payment options for families to the quick and easy online application process for deathcare professionals, dealing with LendingUSA is clear and uncomplicated — not to mention revenue-producing. That’s why LendingUSA has been endorsed by the National Funeral Directors Association and more than a dozen state associations and is trusted by more than 4,000 funeral homes.
If you’d like to learn more about LendingUSA’s innovative process and programs, visit the LendingUSA website, call (800) 994-6177, or reach out to the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.