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LATAN Assistive Technology Loan Program
Policies and Procedures

I. Purposes

The LATAN Assistive Technology (AT) Loan Program assists Louisiana citizens with disabilities to secure the technology they need to become more independent and more productive members of the community and to improve the quality of their lives. LATAN has developed two loan programs, which it administers: a Non-Guaranteed Loan Program and a Guaranteed Loan Program. From time to time, the LATAN Board of Directors, with input from the Assistive Technology Loan Program Advisory Council may develop other programs to meet identified needs or to accommodate specific funding requirements.

The purpose of this Assistive Technology Loan Program is to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities throughout Louisiana and, at the same time, to maintain a viable program.

These policies and procedures establish the guidelines for operating the Program. The LATAN Board of Directors duly authorizes these policies and procedures and will update them as necessary.

II. Commitment To Consumer-Controlled Oversight

LATAN is committed to consumer-controlled oversight of the assistive technology loan program. That commitment is evidenced by LATAN’s consumer-majority board of directors, the consumer-majority staff, and the consumer-majority advisory council.

III. Program Eligibility

All Louisiana residents with disabilities, or family members, guardians or curators on their behalf, are eligible to apply for assistive technology loans under this Program.

Access to the Loan Program shall be given to individuals with disabilities regardless of type of disability, age, income level, location, or type of assistive technology. Borrowers must be eighteen (18) years of age or older.

IV. Program Accessibility

A. Materials. All program materials and information will be made available in the format requested by the applicant. Such formats will include, but not limited to Braille, large print, audiotape, electronic media, real time captioning, and signing.

B. Technical assistance. Face-to-face and phone communication peer-to-peer technical assistance is available at various locations across the state.

C. Application sites. Applications will be available at all branches of Union Planters Bank in Louisiana, at the LATAN state and field offices, at independent living centers, at Families Helping Families offices, at Councils on Aging offices, on the LATAN website, and at other sites as requested and deemed appropriate by the Advisory Council.

V. Program Services

The Program provides the following services:

A. Information and Referral to all parties who inquire about loans. The Program may recommend sources for identifying alternative equipment and funding, refer individuals to other agencies that may assist them to secure assistive technology, and offer other related assistance as needed. While the Program offers information and referral to all potential loan applicants, it does not require anyone to accept this service.

B. Technical Assistance. The Program offers peer-to-peer technical assistance to all applicants applying for loans. Trained consumers will assist borrowers to complete the application packet, provide budgeting information and assistance, provide information about various types of assistive technology that the individual may want to consider, and provide referrals to alternative financial aid, assessment entities, vendors, and consumer credit counseling agencies. Technical assistance is an optional service, but may be strongly suggested for borrowers who fall behind on their loan payments.

C. Non-Guaranteed Loans. The Program offers non-guaranteed loans through its partnership with Union Planters Bank. The rates and terms have been negotiated with the Bank and will be re-negotiated as necessary. The contract, and any future amendments to the contract, with the Bank will be adopted by the Board of Directors and be incorporated by reference into becoming part of these policies and procedures. D. Loan Guarantees. The Program may guarantee loans for applicants who are declined for loans by Union Planters Bank based on the lenders’ standard underwriting criteria. To be eligible for a loan guarantee, an applicant must demonstrate an ability to repay the loan, must be creditworthy, and must meet the program criteria detailed in these policies and procedures. Technical assistance is an optional service, but will be strongly suggested for borrowers who require loan guarantees to be considered by LATAN. The Loan Guarantee Program will be available as funding allows.

VI. Definitions

Ability to repay the loan is determined when an individual's debt to income ratio meets the standards set by the LATAN Board of Directors, assessing all income and other expenses.

Advisory Council means the Assistive Technology Loan Program Advisory Council.

Assistive technology includes both assistive technology devices and assistive technology services. Assistive technology device means "any item, device, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified or customized, that is used to increase, maintain or improve functional capabilities and productivity of individuals with disabilities." Assistive technology services are defined as "any service that directly assists an individual with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device."

The Bank means the bank that LATAN is in partnership with in implementing the loan program.

Board of Directors means the LATAN Board of Directors whose responsibility it is to make policies for all LATAN programs, including the Loan Program.

A consumer is an individual with a disability, or a family member, guardian or curator of an individual with a disability.

Consumer Credit Counseling Service means nonprofit agencies existing in the state which provide credit counseling to consumers.

A creditworthy individual is one who either has a good credit history with no adverse credit problems and/or an individual who is actively addressing his or her credit problems. A creditworthy individual may also be one whose credit problems were related to excessive disability-related expenses.

Debt (or debt service) is defined as the monthly mortgage/rent payment, monthly payments for existing loans/credit cards and the monthly payment for the LATAN assistive technology loan.

Income is defined as all wages, salary, commissions, interest, pensions, and other sources of financial support, paid or in kind. LATAN shall make income that is not taxable equivalent to taxable income by means of applying a multiplier of 25%.

An individual with a disability is a person who self-identifies a limitation to a major life function, such as walking, talking, seeing, hearing, taking care of oneself, learning, becoming employed or maintaining employment.

Living Expense Budget Form means the form developed by the Advisory Council to assist loan applicants in determining their ability to repay the loan.

Loan Program Director means the Assistive Technology Loan Program employee at LATAN who administers the Loan Program.

The Loan Review Committee is a group of five to seven individuals who reviews the loan applications denied by the Bank, and makes a determination whether or not LATAN will guarantee the loan, based on criteria recommended by the Assistive Technology Loan Advisory Council and established by the LATAN Board of Directors. At least two members of the Loan Review Committee shall be individuals with disabilities. The Bank will not be represented on the Loan Review Committee. Any member of the loan review committee will recuse him or herself from the discussion by or decision of the committee regarding a loan application from his or her immediate family. The term "immediate family" is the same as that found in Louisiana R.S. 42:1102 as relates to a public servant, "his children, the spouses of his children, his brothers and their spouses, his sisters and their spouses, his parents, his spouse, and the parents of his spouse."

A participating statewide organization is any organization that has been trained by the Loan Program to provide technical assistance under this Program.

A qualifying applicant is defined as any resident of Louisiana with a disability, or family member, guardian or curator in their behalf, who successfully demonstrates (1) that the loan will be used to acquire assistive technology designed to help an individual with disabilities to improve his or her independence or become more productive members of the community, and (ii) the ability to repay the loan.

A qualifying borrower is defined as any resident of Louisiana eighteen (18) years of age or older, who is an individual with a disability or who is a family member, guardian or curator borrowing in their behalf.

Supplier means the business/vendor/retailer/etc. that the Loan Program Director confirms will be the source of the assistive technology being purchased.

A resident is a person domiciled within Louisiana at the time of the application.

The technical assistance contractor means the entity that LATAN is contracting with to provide technical assistance services for the loan program.

Underrepresented population means any group of consumers who have traditionally not received assistive technology services to the extent that other groups have. Such groups would include (but not be limited to) ethnic minorities, the aging, deaf and hearing impaired, blind and visually impaired.

VII. Assistive Technology Loan Program Advisory Council

A. Role and Responsibilities

  1. Serve as an Advisory Council to the LATAN Board of Directors for the Assistive Technology (AT) Loan Program.
  2. Develop Policies and Procedures for Assistive Technology Loan Program.
  3. Perform advisory functions relating to the administration of the Assistive Technology Loan Program.
  4. Take an active role in securing matching and continuation funding.
  5. Select committee members to serve on relevant committees that will manage different features of the Loan Program (i.e., Training, Loan Review) adding or deleting committees as needed.
  6. Agree to meet regularly with the Assistive Technology Loan Program Director/LATAN Executive Director/LATAN Board Representative to update, improve, and amend policies as needed.
  7. Assist the Assistive Technology Loan Program Director in the development of new and innovative features for the Assistive Technology Loan Program.
  8. Support the Assistive Technology Loan Program Director in setting priorities for the continuation and expansion of the Assistive Technology Loan Program.
  9. Help the Assistive Technology Loan Program Director in the implementation of the evaluation process.
  10. Relate to consumer needs and focus on making the Assistive Technology Loan Program more flexible and responsive to the needs of the community.
  11. Increase personal knowledge about assistive technology and universal design/access issues and be willing to disseminate this knowledge to Council members.

B. Composition of Council. The Advisory Council shall be a consumer-majority council, composed of from thirteen to twenty-one members, who are representative of the geographic, ethnic, and disability diversity of the state. Council members shall include the LATAN Executive Director; representatives of the LATAN Board of Directors, the Bank, and the technical assistance contractor; a CPA; an attorney; and consumers. The Assistive Technology Loan Program Director shall serve as an ex officio member of the Council.

C. Term of Service. Council members shall serve at the pleasure of the LATAN Board.

D. Council Chair. The Chair of the Council shall be selected by the Advisory Council from its members. The Chair shall work with the Assistive Technology Loan Program Director to develop the agenda and materials for the meetings.

E. Meetings. The Council shall meet no less often than quarterly, but as often as needed. Matters shall be decided by consensus of those members present at any meeting. If consensus cannot be reached, the matter shall be decided by majority vote of those members present.

F. Committees. Committees may be formed by the Council as needed to carry out its work. The following committees are currently active.

    1. Standing Committees.
      1. Loan Review Committee.
      2. Ways and Means Committee
    2. Ad Hoc Committees
      1. Technical Assistance Training Committee
      2. Policy Committee

G. Travel Expense Reimbursement. Advisory Council members may be reimbursed for their travel expenses as follows, upon completion of a LATAN Assistive Technology Loan Program Travel Expense Reimbursement Form.

    1. Mileage will be reimbursed at 30 cents/mile. Odometer readings are required.
    2. Actual lodging costs will be reimbursed provided the hotel or motel is accessible and reasonable attempts have been made to book lodging that is reasonable in costs, obtaining reduced rates as possible. Receipt is required.
    3. Meals not furnished by LATAN during a meeting or trip may be reimbursed at the following rates. These rates include tax and tip.
      1. Breakfast – $5.00
      2. Lunch – $7.00
      3. Dinner – $12.00
    4. Special accommodations will be reimbursed as follows:
      1. Driver – $6.00/hour for a maximum of $75/day. Receipt required.
      2. Personal Care Assistants – Actual costs up to a maximum of $75/day. Receipt required.
      3. Other special accommodations can be reimbursed or furnished with prior approval of the LATAN Executive Director.

VIII. Application Process

A. Initial Contact. When individuals contact the Program, staff will offer information and referral (i.e., recommend sources for identifying alternative equipment and funding, refer individuals to other agencies that may assist them to secure assistive technology devices and services, and offer other related assistance as needed).

If the individual indicates an interest in applying for a loan, the applicant will receive an application packet. The packet will contain a Program application form, lender information, lender application(s), an instruction sheet, referrals to peer-to-peer technical assistance providers, and other pertinent materials.

B. Application. The Program application will include the following information and required attachments:

    1. Applicant’s legal name
    2. Nature of relationship to the person with a disability who will use the assistive technology
    3. Nature of disability or functional limitation
    4. Description of assistive technology being requested and how it will compensate for the limitations of a disability and improve the independence and/or quality of life of a person with a disability (e.g., facilitate employment, education, independent living)
    5. Amount of loan request including costs of equipment purchase, extended warranty, service agreement, insurance, training, maintenance and repair
    6. Signed statement verifying truthfulness and accuracy of all information submitted
    7. Signed statement authorizing release of information about the applicant between the Program and Union Planters Bank
    8. Signed statement authorizing LATAN to order a credit report for guaranteed loan applications
    9. Signed statement that applicant is aware of peer-to-peer technical assistance under the Loan Program.

The lender application will be a standard consumer loan application form.

C. Application Completion. The Program will offer any needed assistance to complete the application forms. The applicant may receive help from program staff or may elect to receive technical assistance from a participating statewide organization.

D. Application Determination

    1. Initial Program Application Review. Upon receipt of an application, the Program will assign a case number to the application (for reasons of confidentiality) and will perform an initial review to verify that the applicant is seeking a loan for assistive technology for an individual with a disability. If the Loan Program Director needs additional information to verify, for loan program purposes, that the individual has a disability, or that the item to be purchased is assistive technology to be used by that individual, s/he may require other documentation.

At a minimum, the applicant must provide the following:

    1. Verification of the equipment user's disability.
    2. Proof of the applicant's income.
    3. Price quotes for all items to be purchased.

For vehicles, the applicant must also provide:

    1. A quote for full coverage insurance.
    2. If the vehicle modifications are to be funded by another source, written verification of funding from that source.

The blue book value of the vehicle must generally equal or exceed the loan principal.

Home modification loan applications require submission of one bid from a licensed, bonded contractor who (a) has demonstrated experience providing the type of modification requested, (b) provide a firm, fixed price quote and (c) provide a turnkey service.

Within three (3) business days of receiving the application, the Loan Program Director will contact the applicant for any additional information needed, and immediately upon the completion of the loan packet, the Loan Program Director will forward the lender application to Union Planters Bank, with a cover letter stating that the application meets program criteria, and including the purchase order, invoice, cost estimate, or any other document that describes the assistive technology and states the price.

If the Loan Program Director determines that there is not sufficient information provided to determine eligibility or to process the application, he will send notification by mail to the applicant within five (5) business days of contacting the applicant for the documentation, stating the specific reason for not processing the application, including any additional information needed. Included in the notification packet will be the Loan Program Grievance Process.

    1. Review by Bank. Within thirty (30) days after receiving the application, Union Planters Bank will approve or decline the application, and report the decision to the applicant (in writing or other appropriate format) and to the Program.
    2. Notification for Non-Guaranteed Loans.
    1. Approvals. The Bank will report the application decision to the applicant (in writing or other appropriate format) and to the Loan Program within (5) days after receiving the application. For approved loans, Union Planters Bank will direct the borrower to the appropriate branch office (or instruct him/her to follow an alternative procedure) to close the loan. Loans may be closed by mail.
    2. Upon receipt of the loan decision from the bank, LATAN will contact the applicant. For approved loan applications, LATAN will send a letter including information about the peer-to-peer technical assistance available throughout the loan period.

    3. Denials. The Bank will report the application decision to the applicant (in writing or other appropriate format) and to the Loan Program within (30) days after receiving the application. Application denial notifications sent by the Bank must be accompanied by specific reasons for the denial such that the applicant knows what she or he must do to either reapply or appeal the decision of the Bank.

For bank-denied loans, LATAN will send a letter including information about the process for reconsideration by LATAN’s Loan Review Committee. Notice of denial will contain an easily understood description of next steps and timelines to perfect reconsideration.

E. Loan Review Committee Evaluation of Applications Declined by Bank. The Loan Review Committee will re-evaluate applications declined by Union Planters Bank within five (5) days to determine the feasibility of a loan guarantee, using the criteria established in IX below. Having received the signed approval from the applicant on the original loan program application, the Loan Review Committee will request a credit report for each application to be considered for a guaranteed loan. If the Loan Review Committee opts to guarantee a loan, the Program will notify the borrower of its decision in writing or appropriate alternative format.

If the Loan Review Committee declines a guarantee, it will send the applicant an adverse action letter, including a copy of the grievance process. The letter may offer an alternative to the applicant, such as approval for a lesser amount, approval with a qualified co-signer or other conditions.

F. Final Review of Applications. Approvals from the Loan Review Committee are conditional, and will specify any additional documents the applicant must furnish to the program in order to close a loan.

G. Closing Guaranteed Loans. At its discretion, the Loan Review Committee may require additional conditions, including automatic debits for loan payments and shall suggest one of the debt protection plans offered by Union Planters if applicant qualifies. The Loan Review Committee may require co-signers or other measures to approve loan guarantees for applicants with terminal illnesses. Upon satisfaction of all conditions, the Program will notify the lender that it will provide a loan guarantee. The Program will then provide the guarantee according to the procedures and timelines listed in the agreement with Union Planters Bank. The lender will direct the borrower to the appropriate branch office (or instruct him/her to follow an alternative procedure) to close the loan.

All documentation needed to close a conditionally approved loan must be submitted within 60 days of conditional approval. Time-sensitive documents (e.g., pay stubs) must be current within 30 days at the time the last required document is submitted to the program. Applicants who fail to submit documents within these deadlines may need to reapply.

IX. Criteria for Loan Guarantees

A. Eligible Guaranteed Loan Borrowers. The Program may provide loan guarantees for borrowers who:

    1. Are current Louisiana residents
    2. Are legally able to enter into a binding contract with a lending institution
    3. Demonstrate they will use loans to purchase assistive technology for one or more Louisiana residents with disabilities
    4. Are able to repay their loans and are creditworthy

B. Loan Guarantee Standards. The Loan Review Committee will use the following specific standards to determine whether to approve loan guarantees.

Standard

Acceptable Criteria for the Program

Residence

1. Borrower owns or rents his or her own residence and payments have been on time for at least the past year.

2. Generally, a borrower who has little discretionary income and is living in government or family subsidized housing should indicate that the borrower has no plans to change the living arrangements in the near future. Should income increase due to the assistive technology purchase (e.g., the individual will start a job), the Loan Review Committee will generally waive this requirement.

Length of time at residence

Generally, the applicant should have a minimum of one year’s length of stay, unless:

1. A recent move was necessitated by a job change, promotion or effort to improve quality of life (e.g., moving out of an institution); or

2. The individual's disability necessitated a recent move (examples: need for a more accessible living situation, need for public transportation, lower income required less expensive residence, etc.)

Source of income

The Loan Review Committee prefers that applicants be engaged in stable employment.

The Loan Review Committee may consider approving guarantees for unemployed applicants who have the ability to repay loans, are creditworthy, have stable living arrangements and a current relationship with a financial institution.

Gross income

The Program has no specific income requirement for a guaranteed loan.

Deposit relationships

In order to demonstrate stability, the applicant should generally have a current relationship with a financial institution.

Credit history

The Loan Review Committee will carefully consider credit records and may require additional information and verification, or may deny loan guarantees for applicants with unjustified poor credit. Credit history priorities are as follows:

1. No adverse credit history.

2. Good credit within the past year. Previous credit problems have been worked out with the creditors, and/or debt load and other expenses have been reduced. Prior bankruptcies, defaults, slow payments and other credit problems may be considered on a case-by-case basis. Additional documentation may be requested.

3. Poor credit history, including bankruptcy, may be excused-especially if related to the individual’s disability- provided the individual has taken appropriate steps to resolve the credit problems (e.g., negotiating repayment schedules with current creditors, reducing debt load and living expenses, securing employment). Certain slow pay situations will also be considered (e.g., over 30 days past due).

4. Poor credit history is generally unacceptable if not related to the individual’s disability.

An applicant who lacks acceptable credit may provide a qualified co-signer.

Debt to income ratio

1. The Program will generally consider a maximum 50% debt to income ratio if the borrower can adequately document sufficient cash flow to make loan payments.

2. For debt ratios in excess of 50%, an applicant may demonstrate (using the Program's Living Expense Budget Form) that his/her income, minus all expenses, leaves him/her with disposable income adequate to make loan payments required for his/her loan.

3. Vehicle insurance payments will be considered as debt.

4. The Loan Review Committee will consider as income increased Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments secured through SSI work incentives (i.e., Plans for Achieving Self Support (PASS), Blind Work Expenses (BWE)).

5. The Loan Review Committee may approve loans to individuals who have additional projected income because of an assistive technology loan, which is verifiable.

X. General Loan Requirements

The Assistive Technology Loan Program agreement between LATAN and Union Planters Bank that is in force at the time of a loan application will provide the parameters of and criteria for the loan. In general:

A. Loan Amounts. Loan amounts will be from $1,500 to $50,000. The Loan Review Committee and Union Planters Bank may, at their joint discretion, recommend to the LATAN Board of Directors for approval loans that exceed the maximum amount if such exceptions are justified and would serve the purposes of the Program.

B. Loan Periods. Loan periods will generally not be less than one year. The period of a loan may not generally exceed the amortization schedule or the useful life expectancy of the equipment to be purchased. The Loan Review Committee and Union Planters Bank may, at their joint discretion, recommend to the LATAN Board of Directors for approval loans that exceed the maximum period if such exceptions are justified and would serve the purposes of the Program.

  1. Allowable Assistive Technology Devices and Services. The Program will facilitate loans to purchase a broad range of assistive technology. An assistive technology device is defined as any item, piece of equipment or device that enables an individual with a disability to improve individual independence and quality of life. Allowable equipment shall include (but not be limited to):
    1. Computers with adaptive input or output devices
    2. New and used vehicle loans for vehicles that will be modified
    3. Loan refinancing for late model vehicles that have been modified
    4. Vehicle modifications
    5. Augmentative or alternative communication devices
    6. Assistive devices for the deaf or speech impaired
    7. Closed circuit TV or brailling machines for the sight impaired
    8. Adaptive driving controls
    9. Adaptive home modifications, inc. ramps and power lifts
    10. Prosthetics and/or orthotics
    11. Environmental control units (ECU)
    12. Wheelchairs (Power and manual)
    13. Adaptive mobility products
    14. Any other item or device that improves or maintains the independence of a person
    15. Any service to support the assistive technology device, such as assessments, training on the device, extended warranties

The program will consider loans for home modifications. The Program will not support loans for home modifications to rental units or rented mobile homes.

There must be a demonstrable connection between the end user's disability and the need for the equipment in order for the program to forward an application to Union Planters Bank or to guarantee a loan.

  1. Documentation of Disability. The program requires written documentation of disability for end users of equipment to be purchased with loans through the Program. The documentation may be a disability benefits award letter, a written statement from a licensed/trained professional or agency, or other appropriate form. Documents may be faxed or mailed to the Program.

E. Titles and Liens. The assistive technology device will be titled in the name of the qualifying borrower with the lender as lien holder. If the borrower defaults and the Program buys the loan from the lender, the Program will become the lien holder.

F. Insurance. The program or the participating lender may require a qualifying borrower to insure the equipment for the remaining value of the loan. A loan may be requested for the cost of required insurance, other than automobile insurance.

G. Maintenance, Repairs and Upgrades. The qualifying borrower will be responsible for all repairs and maintenance of the equipment. A loan may be requested to finance repairs, maintenance, extended warranties or maintenance agreements, and equipment upgrades.

H. Joint Check Issuance. When a guaranteed loan exceeds $5,000, the Loan Review Committee will require Union Planters Bank to issue the check jointly to the qualifying borrower and the vendor of the equipment or service.

I. Deadline for Loan Closures. When the Loan Review Committee approves a loan guarantee, the applicant must close the loan with the participating lender within ninety (90) calendar days of the date of approval. Applicants who have not closed their loan within the ninety-day period may be required to re-apply to the Program for approval.

  1. Loan Servicing.
    1. All loan servicing will be handled by Union Planters Bank.
    2. Union Planters Bank will receive all loan payments and service the loan until it is paid in full.
    3. Union Planters Bank shall follow its normal collection procedures on delinquent loans, except that Union Planters Bank will notify LATAN of any delinquent loan that is 30, 45, 60 or 90 days past due, for data collection and reporting purposes.

Note: After all efforts to prevent a default on the bank loan have failed, LATAN will purchase the loan from the Bank with the loan guaranteed funds set aside for this purpose, and the Loan Program Director will have the option of negotiating terms with the defaulted borrower.

XI. Technical Assistance

A. Peer-to-Peer Technical Assistance. The Program will offer optional peer-to-peer technical assistance to all borrowers.

B. Technical Assistance Providers. The Program will provide technical assistance through agencies (primarily Centers For Independent Living, Councils on Aging and Families Helping Families) that agree to provide technical assistance as a fee for service, and/or may contract with consumers having personal and professional experience in assistive technology or credit.

C. Role of Technical Assistance Providers. Technical assistance providers will refer applicants to vendors, identify other available resources, and assist with the completion of loan applications.

D. Consumer Role in Selecting Technology. The applicant will select the technology to be purchased.

E. Technical Assistance for Delinquent Loan Payments. If a borrower has not elected to receive technical assistance but later fails to make loan payments in a timely fashion, the Loan Review Committee may require the borrower to receive technical assistance to resolve payment problems.

F. Technical assistance agreements. The Assistive Technology Loan Program technical assistance agreement between LATAN and collaborating entities that is in force at the time of a loan application will provide the parameters of the technical assistance to be provided by the entities under the agreement.

XII. Late Payments and Defaults of Guaranteed Loans

A. Monthly Reports From Bank. Union Planters Bank will provide a monthly report to the Program documenting the following data for all loans approved through the Program, with separate sections for guaranteed and non-guaranteed loans:

  • Name
  • Account number
  • Original loan amount
  • Current balance
  • Secured (Yes / No)
  • Note date / processed date
  • Term
  • Next due date
  • Payment amount
  • # 30/ 45/60/ 90 days delinquent
  • $ 30/ 45/60/ 90 days delinquent

B. Collection Procedures. Union Planters Bank will follow its normal collection procedures for all delinquent loans. Upon notification (through monthly reports) of any past due guaranteed loans, the Program will attempt to resolve late payment issues, following federal and state fair debt collection practices and laws governing non-institutional lenders/guarantors.

    1. For loan payments that are 45 days delinquent, the Loan Program Director, will send a friendly reminder letter within 7 days of receiving the delinquency notice from the bank, asking the borrower to notify the Program when payment is made.
    2. For loan payments that are 60 days delinquent, the Loan Program Director will phone the borrower, outside of his or her workplace to determine the reason for the late payment and offer technical assistance, in addition to sending a letter identifying resources for technical assistance in the borrowers area.

The Loan Program Director may work with the borrower directly or, with the borrower’s consent, assign a peer-to-peer technical assistance provider to provide assistance.

The Loan Program Director will facilitate any client who falls delinquent receiving consumer credit counseling services, or technical assistance as outlined in the memo of understanding signed by the applicant at the time of their loan.

The Program staff and/or technical assistance provider will attempt to help the borrower resume timely payments. If necessary, the Program may:

    1. Assist the borrower to apply for financial aid from appropriate agencies.
    2. Refer the borrower to a Consumer Credit Counseling Service or other financial counseling.
    3. Negotiate with the lender to reschedule payment terms (e.g., add additional payment(s) onto the end of the loan term).
    4. Arrange a refinance to provide lower payments.

C. Defaults. If there is a loan default, Union Planters Bank will notify the Loan Program Director of the default and request payment in full on the remaining balance of the defaulted loan. A defaulted loan is defined as one that is 90 days in arrears.

The Program will purchase from lenders at par value (principal, interest, fees and other charges due) any guaranteed loan that becomes more than 90 days delinquent. The Program will complete the purchase before the loan becomes 120 days delinquent. Upon purchase, the lender will assign the loan, without recourse, to the Program. The Program will also refer defaulted loans to collection agencies.

The Program may institute appropriate measures to deal with equipment purchased with loans that have gone into default. Measures may include sale to secondary markets, and contracting with repossession firms to reclaim equipment.

XIII. Grievance Process

A. Applicant Reconsideration Petition.

    1. An applicant who is aggrieved by a decision of the Loan Program Director or Loan Review Committee may petition the Loan Review Committee for reconsideration by submitting a written request to the Loan Review Committee citing the reason for the reconsideration, and attaching any additional documentation. The aggrieved may request a commencement of the appeal process for any reason following the receipt of a loan denial. The request for reconsideration must be received by the Loan Review Committee, with any documentation, within 30 days of the date of the application denial.
    2. The applicant has the responsibility to provide additional documentation or compelling evidence that addresses the stated reasons for the initial denial. The aggrieved must follow the prescribed appeal process.
    3. The applicant may continue the appeals process to the Assistive Technology Loan Program Advisory Council, and finally to the LATAN Board of Directors in situations outlined below.

B. Loan Review Committee Response.

    1. The Loan Review Committee shall consider any new information presented by the applicant when deliberating reversal of the initial loan decision. The reconsideration hearing must take place within 10 days of the original request by the applicant.
    2. The applicant may appear before the Loan Review Committee in person, or a teleconference may be arranged, if requested by petitioner or by the Loan Review Committee. The applicant may be accompanied by a friend, or family member, or other representative to help present new information. In most cases, the Loan Review Committee shall meet in Baton Rouge during a loan reconsideration.
    3. Notice of the decision of the Loan Review Committee must be mailed to the applicant within 15 days following the reconsideration hearing.

C. Advisory Council Response.

    1. The applicant may appeal to the Assistive Technology Loan Program Advisory Council if the applicant disagrees with the decision of the Loan Review Committee. The written request for further appeal, citing the reasons for the appeal, and attaching any additional documents must be postmarked within 10 day of receipt of the notification of adverse determination.
    2. The Advisory Council must schedule an appeal hearing for the applicant within 10 days of receiving the request from the applicant
    3. The Advisory Council will follow the same review format as in previous appeal level. Notice of the decision of the Advisory Council must be mailed to the applicant within 5 business days of the Advisory Council hearing.
    4. The Loan Program Advisory Council’s decision is final except in cases of alleged policy violation or alleged violation of the applicant’s rights guaranteed under federal, state, or local law. In these cases, the applicant may appeal to the LATAN Board of Directors.

D. LATAN Board of Directors Response:

    1. The applicant may request a further appeal to the LATAN Board of Directors within 10 days of receiving the notification of the decision by the Advisory Council, if:
          1. All previous appeal procedures have been exhausted, and
          2. The applicant alleges either that
          1. An Assistive Technology Loan Program policy has been violated to his or her detriment, or
          2. The Assistive Technology Loan Program policies do not adequately protect rights protected under federal, state, or local law.
    1. The LATAN Board of Directors must schedule a review hearing within 30 days of receiving the request for an appeal. The hearing may be in person or by teleconference or other appropriate alternative format.
    1. Notice of the decision of the Board of Directors must be mailed to the applicant within 5 business days of the hearing.

C. Final Decision. The decision of the LATAN Board of Directors will be final.

XIV. Promotion and Outreach

The Program and Union Planters Bank will actively work together to promote the loan program as needed, with a focus on outreach to underserved populations.

A. Participation by the Program. The Program will offer the following resources to market the loan program, jointly with Union Planters Bank, to the targeted community:

    1. Program staff will be available to make presentations to bank staff and to consult with them by telephone regarding the program.
    2. Program staff will promote the program to disability agencies and organizations through surveys, presentations, attendance at conferences, flyers, newsletters, press releases and other promotional activities.
    3. The Program will participate in cooperative direct mail marketing to the targeted population.
    4. The Program will add references to Union Planters Bank on the LATAN web site and will make links to lenders' web sites.

B. Participation by Lenders. Upon request, Union Planters Bank will offer the following resources to market the program, jointly with the Program, to the targeted community:

    1. Union Planters Bank’s marketing staff will develop and produce a promotional brochure for joint use by the lender and the Program.
    2. Union Planters Bank will proactively communicate and build awareness of the program in its Louisiana branch offices, including stocking of brochures and preparing branch associates to refer interested consumers to the Program.
    3. Union Planters Bank will add a reference to the Assistive Technology Loan Program on its web site.

XV. Program Reporting And Evaluation

A. Reporting. LATAN will comply with the AFP Technical Assistance Project’s and the Department of Education’s electronic and other reporting requirements, which include:

    1. Demographic data of program participants collected and reported monthly from loan applications:
      1. Age
      2. Gender
      3. Race
      4. Ethnicity
      5. Socioeconomic status
      6. Type of disability
      7. Residential location
      8. Employment
      9. Marital status
    2. General information collected and reported monthly from bank reports and program data:
      1. Number of applications received
      2. Types and numbers of assistive technology devices and services requested
      3. Amount of each loan requested
      4. Total amount of loans requested
      5. Number of non-guaranteed loans approved
      6. Length of time between loan application receipt and approval/denial
      7. Number of loans denied
      8. Reasons for loan denials
      9. Value of loans made without a guarantee
      10. Value of loans made with a guarantee
      11. Average value of loans approved
      12. Interest rate charged to qualifying borrowers
      13. Terms of loans
      14. Default rate on non-guaranteed loans
      15. Default rate on guaranteed loans
      16. Number of individuals requesting peer-to-peer technical assistance
      17. Number of hours of peer-to-peer technical assistance received
      18. Type of information consumers received

B. Evaluation. There will be three (3) tiers of program evaluation.

    1. Compilation of above listed data collected for reporting.
    2. Consumer survey developed by the Assistive Technology Loan Program Advisory Council/Loan Review Committee. After a loan is successfully made, the Loan Program Director will conduct at least one follow-up survey for each successful loan applicant to determine consumer satisfaction. The information from the surveys will be maintained by LATAN for the purpose of reporting demographics.
      1. The survey will be disseminated to all applicants once a decision has been reached on whether the loan was approved or denied.
      2. Telephone surveys by consumers may be conducted at the request of consumers.
      3. Survey will include questions regarding quality, accessibility, and utility of the Assistive Technology Loan Program.
      4. Survey will also consist of questions regarding the impact of the Program on the consumer’s life.
      5. Results of the survey will be reported quarterly to the Loan Program Advisory Council and the Loan Review Committee.
    3. Analysis of tiers 1 and 2 above
      1. The Loan Review Committee will analyze the information collected above and make recommendations to the Advisory Council and the LATAN Board of Directors, as appropriate, for any changes needed in the loan application process.
      2. The Committee will look at the loan application process from the point of view of efficiency, effectiveness, and consumer satisfaction.

XVI. Agreements

  1. Union Planters Bank Agreement. The current agreement with Union Planters Bank, approved by the Board of Directors, regarding rate structure, loan terms, and other items negotiated for this Loan Program, is incorporated by reference into these policies and procedures.
  2. Technical Assistance Agreements. The current agreements with the technical assistance providers, approved by the Board of Directors, to provide technical assistance negotiated for this Loan Program, is incorporated by reference into these policies and procedures.
  3. Other Agreements. Other current agreements or contracts approved by the Board of Directors for this Program are incorporated by reference into these policies and procedures.

 

This document was approved by the LATAN Board of Directors on the 22nd day of February 2002. Non-material changes to these policies may be made by Julie Nesbit, Executive Director of LATAN, or Louis Prejean, President of LATAN, as needed.

Louis Prejean

Louis Prejean

President, LATAN Board of Directors

Revised by the Board of Directors

August 31, 2003

 


AFTAP/RESNA
1700 North Moore Street, Suite 1540
Arlington, VA 22209-1903
Phone: 703/524-6686  Fax: 703/524-6630  TTY: 703/524-6639
Email: info@resna.org  http://www.resnaprojects.org/AFTAP

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