Community Microfinance Small Business Lending

The community microfinance lending initiative helps low-income entrepreneurs from primarily underserved and underrepresented groups start their own businesses. The program pairs loans with financial education and promotion of businesses via community boards in credit union branches. 

Community Microfinance Small Business Lending Details

Minority small business owners are denied credit more often than non-minority counterparts.

Despite the growing economic significance of minority owned businesses, minority small business owners are disproportionately denied credit (31.5%) when compared to non-minority counterparts (12.3%), especially black and Hispanic owners.

Improve economic access in your community. 

Credit unions in the pilot have agreed to offer the program, which incorporates financial education and marketing support to members, improving the likelihood for success.  Results from the pilot are shared with the marketplace to increase access and success for aspiring entrepreneurs. 

96% repayment rate

75% of borrowers reduced their reliance on government assistance

75% of borrowers promoted Alterna’s services to others

Alterna Savings CU's program pairs loans between $1,000 and $25,000 with financial education and promotion of businesses. In the 15 years since the program began, nearly $3.6 million has been lent and over 60% of borrowers have hired others to help expand their businesses.

Community Microfinance Small Business Lending is one of five programs being tested in the Reaching Minority Households Incubator. Our work to research and test solutions to improve access to financial services is made possible by Visa.