Tag: credit building

Preparing yourself for financial emergencies


How you can prevent an immigration-related emergency from becoming a financial one

 Detention and deportation can have a huge impact on a family’s finances. What happens to a car, apartment, or money in a checking account?

Financial Emergency Action Plan for Immigrants

This new resource is an action-oriented tool that offers concrete tips to help families plan ahead and keep their money and belongings safe in the case of an immigration emergency. Topics include:

  • Protect your money: Simple steps to keep your money safe and accessible – from setting up online accounts to automatic bill pay
  • Protect your belongings: How to take stock of your belongings, why to consider getting insurance, and how to make a plan for all your belongings
  • Prepare for an emergency: Tips to help you set a savings goal, protect your credit card or set up a crowdfunding campaign
  • Create an action plan: Each section includes checklists and templates so you’ll know exactly what to do to prepare

Webinars & info sessions

Info sessions are great opportunities for nonprofit, foundation, or government staff to access to the guide, get trained on how to implement the content, and start sharing it with the community. If you’re interested in inviting a member of our staff to be a speaker, please contact us at [email protected]

In the media

Building Better: 2015 Annual Report


Take a look back on what you helped build in 2015 – and get a sneak peak at what’s next!

MAF’s 2015 Annual Report Building Better tells the story of what’s possible when we continually challenge ourselves to build better partnerships, better technology, and better programs.

In 2015, we’re proud to have built a diverse network of 53 nonprofits in 17 states and D.C.

With new partners, we’ve expanded our hubs in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and the Northwest. And we’re thrilled to celebrate over $5 million in zero-interest social loans that are helping thousands of hardworking students, parents, and entrepreneurs build brighter financial futures.

That means an entrepreneur like Sandra can get a zero-interest business loan to grow her inventory and reach new clients — all while building her credit. And a college student like Kimberly can secure Deferred Action to gain access to financial aid and attend the school of her dreams.

We did not do this alone.

Thanks to our funders, donors, board, and clients across the U.S., together we’re building better solutions to unlock the full economic potential of communities living in the financial shadows. Thank you for building with us to make that possible.

We couldn’t have created this report without extensive support from Dan Massey of Google and Billy Roh of Opendoor, who generously volunteered their time and talents to build an ever better annual report for us.

Find out what’s up next for MAF in 2016 by checking out our Annual Report here!

Southwest Solutions & JPMorgan Bring Lending Circles to Detroit


Southwest Solutions, JPMorgan Chase & MAF launch peer Lending Circles to boost credit scores of Detroit residents.

Southwest Solutions, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Mission Asset Fund (MAF) today announced the launch of Lending Circles, a new social loan program that will allow Detroit residents to safely build credit through zero-interest loans. Participants make monthly loan payments and take turns receiving zero-interest social loans, ranging from $300 to $2,500. All loan payments are reported to credit bureaus, enabling participants to build a credit history, raise credit scores and work towards greater financial stability.

MAF’s award-winning Lending Circles are a fresh take on social lending, helping participants build credit while increasing assets and improving financial health. The average credit score increase for participants is 168 points. “More than 30% of the people we’ve assisted with their financial situation in the last two years start with no credit history, and those with credit start with an average credit score of only 547,” said Hector Hernandez, executive director of Southwest Economic Solutions. “Lending Circles will enable our clients to build and enhance their credit so they can take advantage of opportunities to become homeowners, entrepreneurs and college graduates.”

Bringing Lending Circles to Detroit is the next step in JPMorgan Chase’s $ 100 million commitment to Detroit’s economic recovery. JPMorgan Chase recently awarded MAF a $1.5 million, three-year grant to expand Lending Circles to even more communities across the country and develop new technology to connect clients with on-demand loan information. Southwest Solutions is part of a growing network of 53 Lending Circles providers – and the first in the state of Michigan.

“We are proud to partner with Southwest Solutions and Mission Asset Fund to expand Lending Circles to Detroit,” said Colleen Briggs, Program Officer, Financial Capability Initiatives, JPMorgan Chase. “Building a solid credit score is the critical first step to managing daily financial lives and accessing affordable capital to achieve long-term financial goals, such as purchasing a home or starting a business.”

Of the 27 zip codes in the City of Detroit, the median credit score among residents is below 600 in all but one, according to Urban Institute tabulations of credit bureau data. Furthermore, a 2015 report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reported that one in four Detroit households are “underbanked.” Without sufficient access to checking or savings accounts, Detroit residents often turn to payday lenders and check cashers to meet their basic financial needs.

“Without credit scores, there are no ‘good options’ when you want to start a business or get a small loan,” said Jose A. Quinonez, CEO, MAF. “Now, with the support of JPMorgan Chase and partners like Southwest Solutions, we are working together to provide innovative solutions to help Detroit residents succeed.”


About Southwest Solutions

For more than 40 years, Southwest Solutions has pursued its mission to help build a stronger and healthier community in southwest Detroit and beyond. The nonprofit organization provides more 50 programs and partnerships in the areas of human development, economic development and resident engagement. These three areas together form a comprehensive neighborhood revitalization effort that helps more than 20,000 a year. For more information, please visit www.swsol.org.


About JPMorgan Chase & Co.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.4 trillion and operations worldwide. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, and asset management. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of consumers in the United States and many of the world’s most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients under its J.P. Morgan and Chase brands. The firm uses its global resources, expertise, insights and scale to address some of the most urgent challenges facing communities around the world including the need for increased economic opportunity. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at www.jpmorganchase.com.

About Mission Asset Fund

Mission Asset Fund (MAF) is a San Francisco-based nonprofit dedicated to helping financially excluded communities – namely, low-income and immigrant families – gain access to mainstream financial services. Learn more at missionassetfund.org and lendingcircles.org.

Bringing together a Better Bay Area


MAF is bringing together the 10 best ideas for a more financially empowered Bay Area.

MAF is excited to announce the Better Bay Area initiative awardees! This moment has been months in the making. The Better Bay Area initiative launched late last year with support from Google, Y & H Soda Foundation and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation to invite nonprofits in all of the 9 Bay Area counties to become Lending Circles providers.

Since then, we have been engaging with hundreds of people from a diverse group of organizations that provide imaginative and impactful programs and services and want to help their community build credit and increase their financial stability.

We are excited to be working with such an amazing organizations representing the diverse group of people and communities across the Bay Area to implement the Lending Circles program! In the next few months we will be sharing the stories of these new partnerships, the families they work with, and how lives are transformed through the power of Lending Circles. Stay tuned!


We’re excited to introduce the 9 organizations that will join the next phase of financial empowerment through credit building social lending in the Bay Area.

Brown Boi Project, Oakland:

Launched in 2010, Brown Boi works to empower womyn, trans-men, and queer/straight men of color to become social justice community leaders. They prioritize support that improves the lives of the community, and feel that financial empowerment and financial literacy are key factors in creating positive change. Brown Boi Project wants to implement the Lending Circle program to help their clients take their economic readiness to the next level.

Building Skills Partnership, San Jose:

BSP launched in 2000 from a collaboration of the SEIU-USWW and property service employers in Northern California. BSP improves the quality of life for low-wage property service workers and their families by increasing their skills, access to education and opportunities for career and community advancement California. BSP believes that Financial empowerment is a key factor towards acquiring individual success. They intend to use the Lending Circle program to provide hands on financial trainings that also support accessing money for citizenship fees , saving for college, and credit building for their clients.

Game Theory Academy, Oakland:

Game Theory Academy’s (GTA) mission is to improve economic decision-making and provide economic opportunities to low-income youth, to increase their financial stability and help them develop analytical skills that they apply to many areas of their lives. GTA is excited to incorporate Lending Circles into their programs in order to give young people the opportunity to build a strong credit foundation, practice budgeting in a supportive environment, and prepare for financial independence.

OBDC Small Business Finance, Oakland:

OBDC Small Business Finance’s mission is to create economic opportunity by empowering entrepreneurs. Through innovative partnerships, they provide business owners with capital, education, and relationships that allow their clients to flourish. Since 1979, OBDC has been helping their clients expand in size, increase their profits, and reach their goals. They plan to use Lending Circles to provide business owners with credit building opportunities, financial education, and community relationships to help their businesses thrive.

Peninsula Family Service, San Jose:

Founded in 1950 to strengthen families in the wake of Word War II, Peninsula Family
Service continues to help members of our community achieve their full potential. The organization reaches over 10,000 individuals each year, assisting underserved populations to overcome barriers to opportunity, financial stability, and wellness through an integrated network of tools and support. Lending Circles will bolster their existing Financial Empowerment services by adding a new credit-building tool to their innovative financial education, prepaid debit card, IDA, and vehicle loan programs.

Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center
, Mid-Peninsula / East Palo Alto:

Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center breaks the cycle of poverty by bringing the power of entrepreneurship and financial capability programming to low-income and economically vulnerable individuals, families and communities. Through our Secure Futures partnership with Community Legal Services of East Palo Alto and Nuestra Casa our Mid-Peninsula site is able to provides financial education and coaching to different communities in San Mateo County. As students are learning about setting savings goals, implementing household budgets, understanding the banking system and using credit beneficially, they are also introduced to safe financial services and products. Lending Circles will provide our clients with a safe and beneficial way to increase or build credit, lower existing debt or start saving for a predetermined goal of their choice!

Rubicon, Richmond:

Founded in 1973, Rubicon’s mission is to transform East Bay communities by equipping low-income people to break the cycle of poverty with a personalized, comprehensive collection of services that includes job placement, housing, legal services, and financial literacy. The organization is looking forward to using Lending Circles to financially empower adults in their financial boot camp as well as those who have been formerly incarcerated and/or homeless.

The Unity Council, Oakland:

The Unity Council is a non-profit community development corporation committed to enriching the quality of life of families primarily in the Fruitvale District of Oakland since 1964. Its mission is to help families and individuals build wealth and assets through comprehensive programs of sustainable economic, social and neighborhood development. The Unity Council will use the Lending Circles credit building program to increase the capacity of their work with small business owners and aspiring homeowners, as well as help their low income clients rise out of poverty.

Veterans Equity Center, San Francisco:

The Veterans Equity Center is a nonprofit organization located in the South of Market of San Francisco. Established in 1999, VEC was originally established to provide services for Filipino World War II veterans. VEC has expanded its services to include low-income seniors, families, people with disabilities, immigrants, LGBTQ, formerly incarcerated and homeless individuals. VEC provides support services to these groups through counseling, free legal clinic, affordable housing opportunity assistance, advocacy and activities for seniors and adults with disabilities. The Lending Circles program will complement their already robust services to further help immigrant and veteran clients become more financially empowered with the resources and credit they need.


Thanks to Jon D’Souza for his contributions to this post. 

Give Credit where it matters


This December, support the credit-builders in your community.

Here at MAF, we’re lucky to have the chance to watch incredible people use our products to reach their financial goals. This year, we’ve seen a lot of people come through our doors and leave as credit-builders. We’ve served close to 1000 members, formed 13 new partnerships with a total loan volume of nearly $710,000.

As we look toward the future, we’re excited to celebrate our members’ successes and welcome many more. We’re looking forward to scaling up our solution, so we can work with new partners and reach even more members.

We’ve launched our Annual Campaign and ask you to “Give Credit” to those working to get out of the financial shadows. Whether it’s a single parent, a new business owner or an aspiring DREAMer, credit matters in everyone’s life.

To highlight our incredible members, we’ll be sharing new stories each week through email, social media and right here on our blog.

There are so many ways to get involved and support credit-builders:

1) Donate here

2) Buy your Christmas Gifts on AmazonSmile – a portion of your purchase will go towards MAF!

3) Spread the word. Share our social media posts on Facebook and Twitter, so your friends can  learn too.

4) Ask your employer if you can get a matching contribution

With so many ways to contribute to our growing community, will you Give Credit today?

Vote MAF for a better bay area

MAF is a finalist for the Google Bay Area Impact Challenge. We need your support to make the top 4!



We are excited to announce that Mission Asset Fund is a top 10 finalist in the Bay Area Google Impact Challenge, a competition for local nonprofits to share their vision for innovation in the Bay Area community! We were chosen from over 1,000 local nonprofit organizations for the honor. It was a pretty crazy day at the office when we heard the news!

This is a defining moment for all of us who have been working hard to create a fair financial marketplace for hardworking families. We’re so grateful for the recognition and this unique opportunity to take our work to the next level.

The Challenge

For the next 12 days, anyone in the world can vote for up to four of their favorite nonprofits (but only once!) from anywhere in the world, on computer or mobile phone.

The top four votegetters by June 2nd receive a $500,000 grant, technical assistance from Google and free co-working space!

Why you should vote MAF

Because we believe a better Bay Area is a place where entrepreneurs can afford to start their businesses, students can pay for college tuition, immigrants can apply for DACA and citizenship, and hardworking families can access credit.

There are 203,000 Bay Area families are struggling to get affordable loans, cash checks, rent apartments, or set up utilities. On average, 9.5% of their pay goes toward predatory lenders’ fees, trapping them in a cycle of debt and poverty. Over the next two years, we plan to partner with 28 nonprofits to offer our Lending Circles program which would give thousands of low-income individuals access to interest-free social loans and financial education. Together, we can build the financial capability of hardworking families so they can achieve their dreams.

Don’t forget to share our posts on social media to get your networks to #VOTEMAF!

We’ve got 12 days to make it to the top four.

Let’s do this!

Social loans enable affordable credit


How do social loans help people get a better deal? By giving them a chance to build on what they have.

As a recent college grad myself, I know that just because I have a credit score doesn’t mean it’s a good one. In fact, many of my peers and I are learning that having a good credit score translates into direct savings in our pockets as we start thinking about financing larger purchases and investments. It turns out that the majority of MAF’s clients who take out one of our social loans actually start with much lower (or nonexistent) credit scores than the nation as a whole, meaning that if they have access to loan products their paying a lot for them. That’s because, for people with low credit scores or very limited credit histories, even a small positive change can have a large impact on the interest rates for important lines of credit such as car loans, mortgages, and even credit cards.

A credit score doesn’t just determine if you get approved for a credit card, but also how much interest you pay.

Most of our clients start with credit scores below the national distribution. As we can see in the chart below, the median credit score of one of our members is around 650, while the national median is somewhere closer to 720. That translates into much higher borrowing costs for our participants.

Our programs include both access to social loans as well as financial management training, which helps enable people to take the first step in towards gaining access to more affordable credit. Often lack of or low credit gets talked about in terms of lack of  access. It’s true that if you don’t either don’t have a score or have a very low score you won’t have access to the same type of financial products as those with established histories. But even if those with nonexistent or poor credit who do have access to these products will pay substantially more for them. I’ve laid out how much you’d be expected to pay for various loan products depending on your credit score in the infographic below:

By making positive payments on their social loans, participants are improving their credit one step at a time. A higher credit score means lower borrowing costs for debt. If  hard-working people with limited or damaged credit want a chance at avoiding sub-prime rates, then using low-cost financial products like a social loan, paying back loans on time, and saving are all great places to start.

Remember, responsible low-cost credit (like social loans) builds responsible, reputable borrowers!

MISSION ASSET FUND IS A 501C3 ORGANIZATION

TERMS OF USE   |   PRIVACY   |   CONTACT

Copyright © 2022 Mission Asset Fund. All Rights Reserved.

English