“Lending Circles gave me a chance to build my credit and my future.”
Entrepreneurs gain access to the credit they need to grow their businesses.
“When I buy something I pay it off right away. I do things differently now.”
Having savings helps give us all the peace of mind that if something unexpected comes up, you’re prepared. If you need a better way to save, Lending Circles can be your savings plan. It helps you set aside money every month.
Feeling confident means walking into a bank with your head held high. With our online financial education courses, you’ll learn how to make the right choices for your family and help you meet your financial goals - either this month or five years down the road.
With Lending Circles, you do good for yourself while also doing good for others. Being part of a Lending Circle means you help yourself and your neighbors save for education, prepare for emergencies and pay off debt - all while building a brighter future together.
Participating in Lending Circles is a safe way to lend and borrow within a trusting community. We keep your information private and guarantee your money gets back to you, so everyone goes home happy.
In today’s world, you need a credit history to do just about anything - turning on your electricity, renting an apartment or buying a car. Without a good credit score, everything costs more. Lending Circles gives you the opportunity to build your credit history so that you have better, more affordable choices.
The Lending Circles program turns a common practice - lending and borrowing money with friends and family - into a powerful, credit-building activity. No one does it alone: that’s why we believe in the power of community.
Participants get a ZERO-INTEREST, ZERO FEE social loan ranging from $300 to $2,000.
All loan payments are reported to credit bureaus. The average credit score increase for participants is 168 points.
Payments and deposits are sent directly to your checking account making it easy to keep up with payments.
Learn how to make your credit work for you with free, online financial education.
“Building credit helped me rent a safe place to call home.”
Anything is possible with hard work and the right opportunity.
“Lending Circles is helping me reach my educational goals.”
All over the world, friends and family lend and borrow money together. With Lending Circles, this common practice gets even better. It’s safer and it helps you build credit.
10 x $100
Most lending circles have 10 participants for a loan of $1,000. All participants make the same monthly loan payments ranging from $50 to $200.
The first month, one participant receives $1,000. And each month after that, the next borrower in line receives the loan until everyone gets a chance.
“Saving money is like a new habit for me. I’m now used to setting aside a little each month.”
With good credit, the sky's the limit for hardworking small business owners.
“My loan helped me invest in new equipment for my restaurant.”
By the mid-2000s, Perez had a profitable rooming house and was managing around fifty tamale carts with her business partners. Then, it all fell apart: recession, foreclosure, a messy divorce. Now, she’s starting over. She’s borrowed several thousand dollars through a series of Mission Asset Fund lending circles and another nonprofit microlending program for startup businesses.
Mission Asset Fund reports activity in its lending circles to credit agencies so participants can establish credit scores and later get loans from banks. Lending circles are a common fixture in immigrant communities. Members of a lending group put a set amount of money - say, $100 - into a common pool each month and then take turns receiving the monthly proceeds. The circles are a popular way for people who are apprehensive about banks or have little access to them to save and lend money to one another.
A new approach to helping poor families get loans is thriving in San Francisco. Unlike some projects with similar goals, The Mission Asset Fund doesn't make loans itself. It focuses on improving the credit scores of low-income borrowers. To explain how the Mission Asset Fund works, Jose Quinonez, its founding executive director, takes me on a walking tour of the Mission District.
Christina Ruiz and Helen Ochoa don’t seem to have much in common. Ruiz is a stylish, photogenic fashion school grad who owns and operates TopShelf Boutique, San Francisco’s first fashion truck. Ochoa is a single mother of three, an immigrant from Guatemala who lacked a credit score and struggled for years to find a decent apartment for herself and her children. But their differences are not so vast as they seem.
“For many of the undocumented youths, paying for [college] is already a struggle, let alone a burdensome fee that can be used to pay for their rent, food and books,” says Ivy Teng Lei, an activist who came to the US from China when she was seven-years-old and used her savings to cover the cost of her DACA application. “The $465 fee is an application fee, but a lot of the documents required in the application also lead to an accrual of additional fees – such as school transcripts, records from officials, photos, mailing. These definitely add up.”
José Quiñonez entered the U.S. from Mexico when he was a child, arriving as an undocumented immigrant with members of his family. The 41-year-old is now trying to assist a new generation of Bay Area residents who also came illegally as minors and want to become legal residents. Mr. Quiñonez runs Mission Asset Fund, a five-year-old San Francisco nonprofit that works to promote savings among immigrants who lack bank accounts and credit scores. The group's latest effort is focused on helping undocumented immigrants raise the…
Lending circles are a common fixture in immigrant communities. Members of a lending group put a set amount of money—say, $100 —into a common pool each month and then take turns receiving the monthly proceeds. The circles are a popular way for people who are apprehensive about banks or have little access to them to save and lend money to one another. Mission Asset Fund, a charity in San Francisco, has figured out a creative way to formalize those relationships and report the monthly payments to the credit bureaus as a way to help people build or establish credit and gain access to the financial mainstream.
We’ve all probably lent money to a friend or family member. While we hoped to see the money again, we didn’t expect our generosity to help our credit scores. But what if it did? A non-profit in San Francisco’s Mission District has found a way to report these informal loans to credit bureaus.