People around the world lend and borrow with each other when bank loans aren’t an option. With technology and credit reporting, MAF’s Lending Circles formalizes this practice to help borrowers access zero-interest loans that help them build credit. With more savings, less debt, and better credit, Lending Circles participants can finally pursue their dreams: they go to college, buy homes, become citizens, and start businesses.
How It Works
Lending Circles provides zero-interest loans that help people build credit. Every participant starts by taking an online financial training class. Then, the six to twelve members meet in person to form the Lending Circle and collectively decide on the loan amount; for example, a group of 10 people might decide they each want a loan of $1,000. Each participant in the Lending Circle can have their own goal for the money, whether it’s paying off debt or paying for tuition.
Everyone in the Lending Circle makes the same monthly payment, ranging from $50 to $200, which MAF reports to the credit bureaus. The loan rotates monthly to a different participant: in the first month, one participant receives $1,000, and each month another member receives the total sum until everyone has gotten a chance. The program is proven to help participants establish credit histories for the first time and increase low scores.
The program is offered at MAF’s office in San Francisco and through our nonprofit partner providers across the country.