Is the Personal Loan Making a Comeback?

Applying for a loan
Applying for a loan

Once upon a time, if somebody needed money, they didn't turn to a credit card or opt for a home equity loan. And because payday lending stores didn't exist, they didn't go there, either. Instead, for much of the 20th century, if you needed extra money you went to the bank and asked for a loan -- and you often got one.

Then a not-so-funny thing happened: During the 1990s, banks started discovering that home-equity loans were a much more profitable venture for them. So they stopped advertising personal loans, and the public largely stopped asking for them, happy to feed on their diet of the more flexible home-equity loans and credit cards, the use of which rapidly grew throughout the 1990s and 2000s.