Month: April 2014

Welcome to our new digital home! Today we are thrilled to unveil a brand new social loan website.  But to us, it’s really more meaningful than just a new look.

It may look pretty, but it’s more than a new coat of paint

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For a lot of organizations, a new website represents a new visual style. But for MAF, this is more than just a fresh coat of paint. It represents a new, bigger vision for our organization. From our first Lending Circle in San Francisco over six years ago to partnering with 25 nonprofits across 6 states, we’ve been able to help hard-working families lend and borrow nearly $3 million dollars. With visionary funders and a networked approach to partnership, we’re working together to bring hardworking people out of the financial shadows. That’s why it was time to rethink our logo, introduce a new blog and tell more stories. We worked with UX design experts at Digital Telepathy to bring this new site to life.

Our new online home will be a place for participants, partner organizations, and supporters to go for things they need. Potential participants will be able to find local providers and supporters will be able to stay up-to-date with the launch of our new blog, Credit Matters.

scaleA new house, with new features

From our logos to mobile-friendly design, our site has new features:

  • Branding – our new logos represent inclusiveness and diversity embodied in the values of MAF 
  • Design – we’ve adopted a continuous scroll design, allowing us to show and tell our story better on laptops and mobile phones
  • Videos – visit our homepage to check them out some brand new videos
  • Credit Matters Blog – publishing fresh content of behind-the-scenes interviews to policy insights

With more improvements coming soon

In the next few weeks, we’ll keep you updated as we launch new features like zip-code searching (to help match members with social loan providers), online applications (that can be completed on a smartphone!), guest blog posts from leading researchers in the field, and even more stories.

Our new sites will help us level up

This site is part of what will allow us to achieve our vision of creating a fair financial marketplace for hardworking families. With wealth inequality increasing, hard-working families across the U.S. are struggling for an equal shot. Fair access to credit and banking services plays a big part in building brighter future. That’s why it’s our job to make it easier for nonprofits to offer Lending Circles in their communities. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be rolling out a brand new loan servicing platform that will make it even easier for Lending Circle providers to bring financial products to underserved communities, everywhere.

So what do you say, do you like our new home?

You can help give us the best housewarming present ever! Share your love on your favorite social media site.

 

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P1060252b (1)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!P1060248 (1)

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!


 

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The Credit Catch 22

There’s always a catch. With credit, there’s a Catch 22! It’s too easy for hardworking people to get stuck in this Credit Catch 22. For example, if you want to build a great credit history, you have to have lines of credit. But in order to be approved for lines of credit, you have to show a history of repaying credit. Thus the credit catch 22!

Without a long credit, residential or banking history, you’re more likely to get stuck in this Credit Catch 22.

This is a real problem our clients run into when they want to get an apartment or a credit card but have no file or a very thin one. When a lender does an inquiry to find out if a person qualifies for a loan, that actually lowers the chance of being approved.Without a long credit, residential or banking history, you’re more likely to get stuck in this Credit Catch 22.

We want to help everyone get over feeling stuck, strapped or invisible.That’s why MAF offers products that give clients a responsible line of credit with our social loans and the financial education to finally escape and live a secure, empowered life. The infographic below lays out how the credit catch 22 works and some evidence of the phenomenon from our own members’ experiences.

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