DEFINITION of 'Retail Lender'

A lender who lends money to individuals rather than institutions. Banks, credit unions, savings and loans institutions, and mortgage bankers are all examples of retail lenders. Retail lenders are used generally for lending money for mortgages, auto loans and consumer-finance loans.

BREAKING DOWN 'Retail Lender'

Retail lenders are either federally or state chartered and regulated as such. Retail lending sometimes comes under increased scrutiny during periods of increased borrower defaults. Some think that retail lenders should have a fiduciary responsibility to the individuals that they lend to. Others believe that borrowers should be financially educated enough to make wise borrowing decisions.

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