We all know the tough times that came with the Great Recession. Businesses across the country laid off millions of workers, factories moved their production overseas, the values of homes dropped dramatically, and financial institutions slashed their lending rates. Even as the economy improves, it can still be difficult to find car loans.

Typically, lending by banking organizations increases when the economy is doing well, and it drops when the economy is in bad shape. This is partly because banks feel more confident that their loans will be repaid, and partly because there is higher demand for loan money. However, when the economy takes a turn for the worse, as it did in 2008, banks lose their confidence in the ability of people to repay loans, and they clamp down on lending, including car loan credit arrangements. The people hit especially hard are those with poor credit scores.

One of the single most important factors of any lending program is your credit score. This number is a simple representation of how likely you are to pay off a loan, and it factors in your current debt load, how many lines of credit you have, and your history of loan repayment, among many others. If you have a low credit score, you are less likely to be approved for a loan, and if you do get a car loan, your interest rate will be higher.

In the current economic climate, many banking institutions are offering record-low interest rates, making it attractive to take a loan now. Unfortunately for those with low credit scores, these banks are also less willing to lend money. In addition, banks now ask for much more information in a loan application. Before the Great Recession, banks looked mainly at credit score, and they were fairly lenient about who they lent money to. Now, they look for income status, debt load, future employment prospects, income growth, loan repayment history, and many other factors.