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Building financial resilience: Join the Lending Circles Network

MAF is inviting nonprofit organizations in Chicago, Florida, and Los Angeles to join our Lending Circles Partner Network. Selected applicants will receive valuable benefits, including training, technical assistance, and access to MAF’s loan platform to provide 0% interest credit-building loans to their participants.

Join the Movement

MAF’s Lending Circles program is a powerful tool for financial empowerment, transforming the lives of countless individuals and families across the United States. Over the past few months, our team visited Chicago, Miami and LA to meet with current partners and share how nonprofit organizations can join the movement to increase financial access and opportunity for all.

If you are interested in learning more about Lending Circles or becoming a partner organization, please visit MAF’s website or contact us directly at Together, we can create a more financially inclusive society where everyone has the opportunity to achieve their full financial potential.

Tandas, Susus, Lending Circles: A Powerful Tool for Financial Inclusion

In the ever-changing landscape of financial services, access to affordable and accessible financial products remains a significant challenge for many low-income and immigrant communities. MAF is a San Francisco-based community-centered organization dedicated to addressing these barriers.  Explore MAF’s transformative Lending Circles program and our innovative approach to financial empowerment.

Launched in 2008, Lending Circles is a unique social lending program that leverages the power of community to help individuals build credit, save money, and achieve their financial goals. Rooted in the tradition of social lending practices worldwide, Lending Circles brings people together to lend and save money, creating a safe and supportive environment for financial growth.

How Lending Circles Work

Lending Circles operate as peer-to-peer lending groups, typically consisting of 6-12 individuals. Each member contributes a monthly payment into a shared pool, and the funds are then distributed to one member of the group each month. MAF has formalized this existing community practice into a formal loan and reports monthly payment activity to the three major credit bureaus so people can get credit for what they’re doing in their financial lives. This rotating system allows participants to access affordable loans without the need for an existing credit score or collateral.

Benefits of Lending Circles

The benefits of participating in Lending Circles are numerous. Participants can:

  • Build credit: Regular and timely payments contribute to building a positive credit history, which can lead to improved access to mainstream financial products.
  • Save money: By setting aside a monthly savings amount, participants can accumulate savings and develop a habit of saving.
  • Achieve financial goals: Lending Circles can be used to finance various financial goals, such as starting a business, buying a home, or covering unexpected expenses.

Partnering for Impact

MAF’s approach to financial empowerment is deeply rooted in the communities we serve, but we didn’t want to go at it alone. We knew there are other communities across the nation facing similar barriers and organizations who are already supporting them to achieve their goals. MAF partners with organizations nationwide to equip them with culturally relevant financial tools that can be tailored to meet the unique challenges of their communities.

“It’s been really helpful to have Lending Circles when we are doing coaching for small business or for our first or home buyer classes for people who are interested in credit that may not be ready to take out a loan or maybe take out a credit card. Lending Circles has been really helpful to help build credit for those individuals and meet their financial goals.”

Elba Serrano, Director of Community Wealth & Services, East LA Community Corporation

“Lending Circles unlocks a new door to possibility, especially for the folks that we serve that otherwise wouldn’t have been eligible for mainstream credit building opportunities…yes, it’s a credit building; yes, it’s the savings, but it’s also creating an intentional framework with a familiar platform. Tandas in our communities are well-known and familiar.  Having that familiarity with the creativity and the innovation of MAF has been instrumental.”

Julio Pensamiento, Director of Strategic Partnership, Center for Changing Lives

If you are interested in learning more about Lending Circles or becoming a partner organization, please visit MAF’s website or contact us directly.

Funding for the Lending Circles Communities campaign is provided through a generous grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation. We’re thankful for their support to bring credit-building programs to more communities across the country.