Is joint credit the "union" or the "intersection"?

You have two people. Person G has good credit -- high income, little debt, never pays late, responsible credit card usage, etc. Person W has worse-than-G-but-not-bad credit -- significantly lower income than G, but also little debt, couple of late pays (on credit cards) a year but never has defaulted on anything.
Given that, what will banks consider lower risk (and so give more favorable conditions/rate to)? A loan application from G alone or a joint loan application from G and W?
Naively I'd think that the joint application would be considered lower risk -- both G and W are (I would expect) jointly and severally liable for payment so if W totally flakes out G is still fully on the hook and the loan is then no worse than a loan to G alone. So it would seem to me that G would set a ceiling on the riskiness of the loan since anything short of W contributing nothing means there are more resources to pay back the loan than G on his own.
But is that really the case in the credit-granting world?
-- Rich Carreiro snipped-for-privacy@rlcarr.com
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Rich Carreiro
I've never co-signed a loan and each bank probably has it's own policy. FICO is really willingness to repay a loan. If G is just co- signing and W is actually getting the loan, G may not be very motivated to repay the loan, even if she has a good FICO score. W probably whined and pleaded that I'll never miss a payment, but in reality will drop it like a hot rock if it is in the least bit inconvinient (I have given personal loans before.) Family, friend and co-worker loans are terrible. I think W's credit rating will pull down G's credit rating.
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You subtely lead into a very big and serious subject ("union" v. "intersection" suggest math). Intentional or not, I'll try. I'm angry, sarcastic and satirical, but I really doubt I'm wrong about this. There are just way too many people who have come up with the same conclusions. I will apologize if anyone can show me my error.
Oh, most definitely lower risk. As a matter of fact, if you can find D who has defaulted on every loan without exception, five more W's, and some UFO's as well, the bank will pour them all into a big black bubbling box filled with magical hypotheses, drain it out to cool on the counter top into a nice little sausage, slice it up into tranches, mix a shot of one slice with a sniff of another slice with a snort of a third slice, squeeze a rating agency until the rating goes very high, then sell the things off quickly to other bankers, who sell them off quickly to taxpayers at zero risk; but still turn around and sell guarantees ("credit default swaps") which the smartest bankers made up so they could buy them when the less-smarter bankers followed their professional advice and sold them ... and make even more money because they (the smartest bankers) actually understood what the mathematicians' playthings in the box were, and the beauty is that no one had to tell anyone about any of this, and there are no consequences either, because the really really smartest bankers had gone to work for the Treasury which covered the inevitable (even though judges these days may be found throwing up in their private bathrooms after approving "settlements" the SEC negotiated over lunches with the bankers). As a banker acquaintance of mine recently put it, "All to the letter of the law." (I believe he may be mistaken about that.)
If banks are good at anything, it's laundering smelly stuff! "The more, the merrier!" (And everyone wanted to play! A true little global village in Davos, Switzerland!) So God Bless the alphabet, butter the credit, and pass the salt.
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I can only speak from my experiences. Having said that, the answer is, as usual, "it depends". Or perhaps more specifically, "they screw ya either way".
When I married my wife, I was person G and she was person W (a divorce had caused a few minor credit issues). When we went to finance a large purchase, the banker was a friend of mine so we had the numbers run both ways. In that particular case, her income was low enough that her less-than-perfect credit hurt us more than her income helped us. So I underwent the financing myself.
However, we purchased a house a few years later. Her credit had recovered somewhat, but not completely. Her income had also increased considerably. In that instance, we came out with a better rate by including both of us on the loan. Basically the bank surmised that even if she was a SLIGHTLY higher risk of default, they wanted her on the loan so that they could go after her earnings if we defaulted.
Hope this helps.
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