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Holiday Loans to Keep You Active and Entertained: NerdWallet’s Picks

Dec. 10, 2012
Personal Finance
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The holiday season is officially here. If you’re planning to make a big purchase or take a dream vacation, you’re in good company. Here’s what we want you to know: there’s more than one way to pay for it. Instead of racking up credit card debt, consider a holiday loan from a community bank. Personal loans and specialized vehicle loans can help you pay for your big purchase without damaging your credit score. Plus, when you get a loan from a community bank, you’re supporting a small business lender and giving your local economy a nice holiday boost. With that in mind, we bring you NerdWallet’s 4 suggestions for an active and exciting holiday, and a few great community banks that can lend you the money for it at a fair price.

1. Pack up the family in a motorhome and head somewhere warm

It’s cold outside! With a motorhome, you can travel with your family to Florida (or another warm destination) in style and comfort. Here are our picks for RV loans in cold states.

Home Federal Bank (Sioux Falls, SD)

Home Federal Bank offers personal loans for almost any vehicle, including campers and RVs. Take advantage of flexible payment options and an easy application process. If you have a Rewards or a Rewards Plus checking account, you’ll qualify for an additional discount. Talk to a loan officer for complete details. Home Federal Bank has branches in Aberdeen, Brandon, Brookings, Canton, Colman, Crooks, Dakota Dunes, Dell Rapids, Freeman, Hartford, Lennox, Marshall, Mitchell, Parker, Pierre, Sioux Falls, Watertown and Yankton.

First Federal of Northern Michigan (Alpena, MI)

Just like their auto loans, First Federal’s RV loans have reasonable rates, whether you’re buying a new or used vehicle. They also have flexible terms to accommodate larger purchases and budgets of all sizes. Check out their current rates to get a sense of which loan is right for you. All lending decisions are made locally, so your loan officer can take your personal circumstances into consideration when reviewing your application. First Federal of Northern Michigan has branches in Alpena, Alanson, Cheboygan, Gaylord, Lewiston, Mio and Oscoda.

Security First Bank of North Dakota (Bismarck, ND)

Security First Bank of North Dakota offers camper and RV loans with flexible payment terms tailored to meet your individual needs. You can apply in person or online and get an answer in 20 minutes. We recommend applying in person to get your questions answered. In the meantime, check out their lending dictionary and make sure you understand all the terminology you’ll encounter in your paperwork. Security First Bank of North Dakota has branches in Mandan, Center, New Salem, Almont and Bismarck.

2. Enjoy winter in the water with a boat or a Jet Ski

If you already live someplace warm, take advantage of your extra time off and spend it out on the water. Here are our recommendations for boat and Jet Ski loans for you folks down south.

Guaranty Bank and Trust Company (New Roads, LA)

A personal loan from Guaranty Bank and Trust Company can help you finance your boat, Jet Ski, or any other recreational vehicle. Take advantage of their online bill pay service to schedule payments up to a year in advance. Talk to a loan officer about their flexible repayment terms. Guaranty Bank and Trust Company has branches in New Roads, Livonia, Zachary and Port Allen.

BankTexas (Quitman, TX)

A BankTexas personal loan can help you finance a boat or a Jet Ski for your next trip to the lake. We especially like their user-friendly online application, but we still recommend stopping by a bank branch to get your questions answered if you’re not already a customer. Your application is processed locally, so you can be sure you’re getting the personalized service you deserve. BankTexas has branches in Quitman, Holly Lake Ranch, Kilgore, Lindale, Mineola, Tyler, Winnsboro and Longview.

3. Help finance that ski trip you’ve always dreamed about

Skiing is super fun, but it’s super expensive. With a personal loan, you can pay for the trip in easy installments and avoid crazy-high interest rates. Here are a few great personal loans.

Salin Bank and Trust Company (Indianapolis, IN)

Consider a personal loan from Salin Bank and Trust to finance your next trip to the mountains. The loan professionals at Salin Bank will work with you to make sure you borrow within your budget. Looking to buy something big? Ask to speak with them about typical pricing and financing so you don’t get ripped off. Salin Bank and Trust Company has branches in Carroll County, Columbus, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Kokomo, Lafayette, Logansport and Marion.

Pioneer Bank (Stanley, VA)

Pioneer Bank offers both personal installment and single-pay loans for your next vacation, holiday spending or other personal expenses. They’ll work with you to make sure your loan is a perfect fit for your budget. Check out their smart phone apps for easy, on-the-go bill pay. Pioneer Bank has branches in Stanley, Shenandoah, Luray, Harrisonburg, Stanardsville and Charlottesville.

First National Bank of Santa Fe (Santa Fe, NM)

Check out First National Bank of Santa Fe the next time you need a personal loan for your ski trip. They also offer auto loans and RV loans. Take advantage of flexible terms up to 6 years for new vehicles and 5 years for used vehicles. Their mobile site and smartphone apps make it even easier for you to track and pay your bills. First National Bank of Santa Fe has branches in Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Los Alamos in New Mexico, and Denver in Colorado.

4. Explore your favorite winter wonderland in a snowmobile

For people in rural mountain towns, snowmobiles might be essential. For everyone else, they’re a fun and fast alternative to snowshoes. If that sounds like you, check out these snowmobile loans.

Westbury Bank (West Bend, WI)

Westbury Bank understands that when it comes to loans, one size doesn’t fit all. They offer snowmobile and other auto loans with flexible rates and terms, which you can view in detail here. For all other big purchases, they also offer customized specialty loans. Westbury Bank has branches in Brookfield, Brown Deer, Germantown, Hartford, Jackson, Kewaskum, Colgate, Richfield, Slinger and West Bend, and a home loan center in Milwaukee.

Sanford Institution for Savings (Sanford, ME)

Sanford Institution for Savings offers personal loans for all kinds of recreational vehicles (including snowmobiles, of course). Apply online to get a personalized quote. Rates, terms and down payments vary depending on the type of vehicle you purchase and its age. If you have an SIS checking account, you may even be eligible for a discounted rate on your payments when you sign up for automatic payment deduction. Sanford Institution for Savings has branches in Wells, York, Waterboro, Limerick, Buxton, Springvale, Sanford and South Sanford.

mBank (Manistique, MI)

mBank can help you finance that snowmobile purchase with an installment loan. The rates and terms are just as flexible as you need them to be. Talk with a loan officer for complete details. mBank has seven branches in the Upper Peninsula, three in the Northern Lower Peninsula, and one in Oakland County.