• Lending Circles Program


People around the world lend and borrow with each other when bank loans aren’t an option. With technology and credit reporting, MAF’s Lending Circles transforms this traditional practice to help borrowers access affordable loans, build credit history, and set them up for a financially stable future. This unique social loan program has rapidly proved its ability to help people open bank accounts, avoid predatory lenders, and quickly and safely build their credit history.

How It Works

Lending Circles provides a zero-interest loan to help participants build credit and access an affordable, small dollar loan. Participants take our online financial training class before joining a Lending Circle. Six to ten people come together for an in-person formation and decide on an amount for their group loan; for example, 10 participants for a loan of $1000. Each participant can have their own need or goal for the money they borrow, whether it’s paying off debt or paying for tuition.

Everyone in the Lending Circle makes the same monthly payment ranging from $50 to $200, which MAF reports to the credit bureaus. The loan rotates each month to a different participant. In the first month, one participant receives $1000 and each month after that a different borrower will receive the loan, until everyone in the Lending Circle has gotten a chance. After completing the program, many participants establish credit scores for the first time or improve damaged ones.

The program is offered at MAF’s office in San Francisco or through our nonprofit partner providers across the country.