Lending circles

I’m so excited about this. In Forbes this month was an article about lending circles in the Mission District of San Francisco and what a positive impact it had on the credit ratings and savings habits of people who are traditionally underserved by traditional banks.  I LOVE this, I want to study it and replicate it.

Micro-credit has been used in the third world with a lot of success, like in Africa and India.  I did not know if or how those principles were applied in the US, though I believed they could helpful and were used somewhere.  I would like to know where they are in the US, and how they work best here.  I imagine doing it with my homeless folks, and what kind of difference it could make.

Something the article mentioned that I hadn’t thought of was that these lending circles can:

help immigrants save to apply for naturalization (roughly four million people who are eligible for citizenship don’t apply, either because they can’t afford it, or because they don’t know they are eligible). Graduating from product to product not only helps the participants understand the mainstream financial system, but allows them to integrate more quickly.

I never thought about the cost associated with becoming a citizen, just the time commitment required. I wonder what this might mean to a debate about undocumented workers.


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