Cosign Definition

Cite this article as:"Cosign Definition," in The Business Professor, updated March 12, 2019, last accessed October 26, 2020,


Cosign Definition

Cosign is a situation where two people merge to sign for a loan in order to guarantee payment. By you placing your signature it means that you will respect the terms and conditions of the loan in case the other party defaults

A Little More on What is Cosign

A co-signer may be needed anytime and not necessarily when one has a bad credit history. An example is students or those under the age of 21 with no clear salary that requires a loan. Because their credit history is not known, they may need to get a guarantor with good credit history to co-sign the loan with. This person should be able to promise to pay in instances of default.

Another motivation for a co-signer’s signature is the fact that one can access the loan with minimum interest rate unlike if they apply alone.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) claims that even if you settle your loan within time, the debt represented in that loan is recorded in your credit history which may have a negative impact on your finances. This is true because it may decrease the amount of loan you can be granted because of your obligation with the foreign debt.

Prior to your agreement of being a co-signer, you should understand the amount of money you will be liable to pay in a situation where the other party does not pay. If possible; go to the extent of getting relevant documents on the loan just in case, you need to defend yourself in the future.

In case you have signed for your relative or close friend, there are alternatives below that you can resort to in order to avoid settling bad debt:

  •         Address your friend or relative to request the lender to delete you from that contract and if they don’t, then the borrower can refinance the loan and borrow another loan only in his name. You can pay in time if the amount is less than the original loan.
  •         Disposal of the asset involved to settle the loan.
  •         You can assist the loanee to settle the debt sooner by chipping into their monthly payment and they refund you later having avoided the main debt.
  •         Look for avenues that can give you more income or merge your debts alternatively. Consult National Foundation for Credit Counseling to get more.

However much the signature may appear harmless, it can pose problems to your future finances when things don’t go as expected. Always take precaution before doing it and don’t just say “yes”.

References for Cosigner

Academic Research for Cosigner

  • A Failed Institutional Transplant: Raiffeisen′ s Credit Cooperatives in Ireland, 1894-1914, Guinnane, T. W. (1994). Explorations in economic history, 31(1), 38-61. This article is talking about the cooperative societies that were introduced in Ireland in 1894 and designed like Raiffeisen Credit Cooperatives of Germany. Irish bankers argued that Cooperatives failed there because it did not make sense to them. Various bodies had different views-that smallholders could not afford credit hence cooperatives were the solution. Generally, the Irish cooperative movement was very weak with a negative perception. Some of this was contributed by Irish failure to tell people to repay loans with zero consequences. The author also insists that cooperatives are advantageous to many people compared to banks.
  • Multisignature algorithms for ISO 9796, Russell, S. (1997). ACM Sigsac Review, 15(1), 11-14. The author here is concerned with how multi signatures in algorithms can be used to enhance cybersecurity.
  • The Consumer Loan Supply Function of a Minority Bank: An Empirical Note: Comment, Ang, J., & Willhour, R. (1976). Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, 8(2), 255-259. The paper develops a consumer supply function for the minority banks.
  • An incentive framework for evaluating the impact of loan provisions on default risk, Chiang, R., & Finkelstein, J. M. (1982). Southern Economic Journal, 962-969. This article is trying to investigate the effects that loan provisions have on default risks
  • Federal Trade Commission Rulemaking in 1984, Butler, N. E., & Kaswell, M. A. (1985). The Business Lawyer, 1119-1124. The paper talks about the Rulemaking of the Federal Trade Commission that was done in 1994.
  • The economic role of traditional savings and credit institutions in ethiopia/le role economique des institutions traditionnelles d’epargne et de credit en ethiopie, Begashaw, G. (1978). Savings and Development, 249-264. This article is talking about the roles of savings and credit associations in Ethiopia and how popular they have become both in rural and urban areas and also amongst the rich and the poor. The Ethiopia Rotary savings and Credit Associations (AREC) has become attractive because of features like accessibility, flexibility, adaptability, and simplicity, unlike formal financial institutions which do not cover many areas. Ikub savings and credit services have helped many people in Ethiopia even those who are poor because of their wide coverage and availability. Its terms and conditions are also very friendly since individuals can participate in as many Ikubs as they wish based on their financial level. Many participants may also decide to share a single share. Generally, the flexibility and adaptability of Ikubs have greatly contributed to its success as it offers its credit services to all income earners without discrimination. Borrowers also have the opportunity to make small repayments, something which has been enabled by the availability of capital arising from the periodic contributions. One major contribution of Ikub is that it has linked urban and rural economies. Other countries that can attest to the benefits of Ikub include Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon, and Nepal. In conclusion, one social benefits of AREC is the fact that it can be used for mobilizing resources to benefit society. Lastly, its integration would not only promote capital formation but also strengthen the financial system.
  • Peer monitoring and credit markets, Stiglitz, J. E. (1990). The world bank economic review, 4(3), 351-366. The author is concerned with how loanees can be monitored in their loan usage so that they can be able to repay. This method has succeeded in the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh and other places where risk is transferred to the peers or neighbors who ensures the borrower does not go bankrupt. This in return improves the borrower’s welfare although it is not easy to implement.
  • Cosigned vs. group loans, Bond, P., & Rai, A. S. (2008). Journal of Development Economics, 85(1-2), 58-80. The author here is talking about how group loans relate to consigned loans. Generally, members of the same group prefer group loans over cosigned loans. The reverse is true for members of different groups. It also goes ahead to highlight us on how it is not easy to implement different loan terms to those members in the same groups.
  • Loan performance and race, Martin, R. E., & Hill, R. C. (2000). Economic Inquiry, 38(1), 136-150. This paper investigates the link between the performance of the loan and racial discrimination. The author finds out that the rate of defaulting in loans is common for minorities compared to the whites in the mortgage markets.
  • Co-signed loans versus joint liability lending in an adverse selection model, Gangopadhyay, S., & Lensink, R. (2005). Research Paper No: 09-05, Research Paper Series, Centre for Analytical finance, Indian School of Business. The paper focuses on the asymmetric information model that gives an economic justification for co-signing and how banks can offer to co-sign which encourages safe and risky firms to merge. The author concludes that it is safer for a firm to combine liability by co-signing with a risky firm.
  • Income Contingent Loans for the Unemployed: A Prelude to a General Theory of the Efficient Provision of Social Insurance, Stiglitz, J. E., & Yun, J. (2014). In Income Contingent Loans (pp. 180-204). Palgrave Macmillan, London. The paper talks about how Income Contingent Loans can be used to solve the problem of unemployment and how it can also be used as a social security fund.
  • Group credit: A means to improve information transfer and loan repayment performance, Wenner, M. D. (1995). The journal of development studies, 32(2), 263-281. In this section, the author describes group credit as a way of enhancing the transfer of information and loan repayment. The study found out that groups that understood their members and utilized information had a relatively lower rate of delinquency unlike those which did not screen members.

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