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Building momentum in Chicago

Senior Account Manager Daniel Lau shares his experience on bringing Lending Circles to Chicago

I open an email from our CEO Jose: “Daniel, save March 31 and April 1 – we’re going to Chicago for a Lending Circles presentation!”

All right! I love traveling and haven’t been to Chicago for a few years. With generous support from Chase, we are now on the search for more Lending Circle Partner Providers in Chicago. It’s one of our target service areas and the first of a series of roadshows for 2014 to expand our programs and bring the savings, credit-building, and financial empowerment benefits to more low to moderate-income and recent immigrant communities across the United States.

It’s already been a week since I was in Chicago, but I’m still buzzing with excitement. The presentation went well – we even had people in the audience who are doing an informal Lending Circle help explain how it works! There is a ton of interest and potential from nonprofit groups. I had so many people come up to me at the reception that I didn’t even realize there was a whole other side of the room with more food!

The day after I was able to spend time with one of our newest Lending Circles Partners, the Chinese American Service League in Chicago’s Chinatown.

I sat in on their financial education workshop (my Mandarin listening skills were put to the test), strategized about Lending Circles implementation, got a tour of their offices and Chinatown, and had a delicious dim sum lunch!

Afterwards I moved over to the Pilsen neighborhood to visit The Resurrection Project. A beautiful mural greeted me as I entered the building. I learned about the many hats they wear in the community as a nonprofit property manager, financial education provider, and homeownership extraordinaires. Lending Circles would be a great complement and enhancement to their amazing work.

The Chicago roadshow led to the start of so many great relationships, I can’t wait to see how they grow and build the momentum for Lending Circles and financial capability for our communities.

Next up – Miami!