Skip to main content

Tag: business

Looking Ahead in 2015


We’re deepening our commitment to Deferred Action applicants and business owners with new programs.

It’s a new year and we’ve got a number of new changes in our programming in 2015 as we take steps to help more people navigate the financial marketplace and realize their full economic potential.

Origination Fee

After the enactment of SB 896 in August 2014, we now have recognition in California for zero-interest, credit-building loans as a tool for good. As we scale and expand in the San Francisco Bay Area, sustainability is a key element to MAF’s ability to reach more clients. In order for us to continue delivering the quality level of service and products, beginning in 2015, we are instituting a small origination fee of 5 to 7% for MAF’s clients in California.

Our loans will still remain zero-interest but this new fee supported by SB896 will allow us to cover the administrative costs from providing financial education, reporting the payment data to credit bureaus, facilitating transactions, and securing the private data with the best technology in the field. With this new source of funding, we plan to invest deeply in the community and ensure more people are able to participate in the Lending Circles program.

We’re also excited to share some new programs rolling out this year:

Lending Circles for Deferred Action

With President Obama’s recent executive action on immigration, about 5 million more immigrants to the United States have the opportunity to apply for Deferred Action, an administrative relief from deportation for undocumented immigrants.

At MAF, we’ve offered two specific programs, Lending Circles for Citizenship and Lending Circles for DREAMers, to helping aspiring citizens and youth finance the cost of their citizenship and DACA applications. We’re proud to deepen our support for hard working immigrants with the launch of Lending Circles for Deferred Action to include anticipated applicants to the new DAPA program in the upcoming months. Expansion of this new program is made possible thanks to a PRI from the Rosenberg Foundation.

Lending Circles for Deferred Action will be kicking off in Los Angeles, thanks to a grant by the Roy and Patricia Disney Family Foundation. The program will support 300 eligible applicants to reduce the cost of applying for Deferred Action by 33% – from $465 to $310. Mexican American Opportunity Foundation, Pilipino Workers Center and Korean Resource Center are the first Lending Circles partners to offer this program to the community.

And in San Francisco, we’re partnering with the Mexican Consulate to support Deferred Action applicants of Mexican descent with a 50% match.

Lending Circles for Business

MAF has many Lending Circles members who are building or repairing their credit to invest in their small businesses, so we’ve created Lending Circles for Business. This program is specifically focused on aspiring and current business owners who have completed a Lending Circle before. Participants will get an up-front loan that helps build credit and open doors to more affordable business lending options in the future.

Check out what some of our entrepreneurial members have accomplished so far to see how important good credit is to running a successful business.

If you’re excited about these opportunities, be sure to check out more about Lending Circles and sign up to join!

Javier: Striking Gold by Building Credit


An entrepreneur finds the secret to lifting up his business

Javier began his entrepreneurial career in the United States with a carpet business. Now, as a licensed contractor, he renovates old rental properties to manage or resell. After spending nearly a year working on the first property he bought, when he sold it at a profit, he was thrilled. He had found his American Dream. Javier thought that “flipping houses” was going to be his most lucrative business strategy yet. But when the market took a turn for the worst, he borrowed as much as he could from friends and family to pay his mortgages, but ultimately lost two of his properties and filed for bankruptcy.

Javier suddenly found himself at the bottom of a hole that banks and lawyers couldn’t help him get out of.

He opened one credit card before but after losing his properties, his score plummeted. He tried to apply for loans but the banks wouldn’t touch him. Not having credit was particularly difficult for Javier because it meant he couldn’t even rent tools from Home Depot.

Javier wasn’t sure what to do next. He had heard of Lending Circles and was familiar with the concept from growing up in Mexico. His mom would participate in tandas very often and buy things for him and his five brothers and sisters. Now as a father of three and the only source of income, it was critical for Javier to pay off his debt and take care of his own family. He decided to join a Lending Circle to build up his credit and learn more about financial management.

“Cash is good to buy, but credit makes it easy in the United States. Credit is gold. You don’t have credit, you don’t have anything,” Javier says.

With three years left in his bankruptcy program, Javier balances running his remaining properties and construction business and paying off his debt.

After finishing his Lending Circle, Javier now has a repaired credit score, which makes him more confident about going to banks and applying for credit cards. He is happy he has taken the first step towards improving his financial health and changing his life. Javier was even featured in a video for MAF’s 2014 Community Leadership Award, where he shared his story and how proud his family is for what he’s accomplished.

After working so hard, his goal is to take his family on a well-deserved vacation to Puerto Vallarta and Cancun to celebrate overcoming a difficult challenge and looking positively towards the future.