FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 27, 2015
LEDC Selected to Launch Fully Automated Peer-to-Peer Lending Program in DMV
~LEDC starts Lending Circles Program in the Greater Washington, DC area~
February 27 – Washington, D.C. – Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC)
With a recent economic recession that compromised the economic standing and advancement of millions as a result of reduced levels of income and job opportunities, stricter access to capital, and a collapsed housing industry that pushed many into foreclosure, LEDC has sought opportunities to strengthen our capacity to resurrect our community’s financial health. In February 2015, LEDC was selected to partner with the Mission Asset Fund (MAF) in the implementation of an automated peer-to-peer credit building tool for low-income communities in DC and MD.
While peer-to-peer lending groups are a common practice in many communities, particularly the Latino community, managing them is quite a burden. MAF, with funding from Capital One, designed an automated system that not only facilitates payment processing through automatic debiting, but also reports payments to credit bureaus. This tool, which facilitates both access to capital, financial education, and credit building for low-income communities has found an average 168 point credit score increase among all participants to date.
How it works:
Individuals interested in participating in a Lending Circle register for an orientation session with LEDC to learn about the program and get to know our staff. LEDC staff form groups of interested and eligible participants who are scheduled for a second meeting. At this meeting, participants agree on a monthly payment to contribute to the group’s fund ranging from $50 to $200. What is key to the program is that not only do participants learn about sound financial behaviors, but their loan payments are reported to credit bureaus which allows participants to see significant increases in their credit scores.
Why Lending Circles?
Lending Circles is the perfect addition to LEDC’s culturally and linguistically competent programming which focuses on empowering individuals by strengthening their economic standing and building their assets. Joining a group of peers to share saving techniques, provide mutual accountability, and increase their credit empowers members of our community to pursue their dreams of financial independence and wealth building.
Marla Bilonick, Executive Director of the Latino Economic Development Center, speaks about LEDC’s fitting partnership with Mission Asset Fund; "I met with Jose Quiñonez in early 2014 and he introduced me to what Mission Asset Fund (MAF) was doing with their Lending Circles initiative. I was immediately convinced that this would be a great fit for LEDC and the clients we serve. LEDC and MAF both connect people to resources that put them in the driver's seat of their financial futures and this program is no exception to that. I am so grateful and excited that we were selected by MAF to bring Lending Circles programming to the DC area!"
The Latino Economic Development Center is a 501©(3) nonprofit organization. LEDC’s mission is to drive the economic and social advancement of low- to moderate-income Latinos and other D.C. area residents by equipping them with the skills and tools to achieve financial independence and become leaders in their communities.
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Washington, D.C. - According to an Aspen Institute report (2015) regarding the racial wealth gap, the lack of wealth in Latino and African-American communities is related to the lack of businesses and financial assets. On September 27th, 2016, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced its awardees for its Community Development Financial Institution Fund (CDFI Fund) program. The Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC) was one of three organizations in DC and one of two operating in Baltimore who received this award. LEDC will be receiving $500,000 from the Treasury Department to support its small business micro-lending efforts in the DMV region.
The same week, on September 30th, 2016, LEDC also learned that it had been awarded $400,000 from the Department of Health and Human Service's (HHS) Community Economic Development (CED) program to provide local DC businesses with financing in order to create jobs with living wages for low-income DC residents.
This is a historic time for LEDC as it is the first time it has secured two federal grants of this size in one year, and the first time it has been awarded Community Economic Development funding through HHS. "We are so excited and honored to have been selected as 2016 CDFI Fund and CED recipients. The new businesses and jobs that will result from LEDC's financing efforts will help low income residents advance economically, strengthen their financial self-sufficiency, and contribute to the revitalization of Washington, D.C and Baltimore City, MD neighborhoods," said LEDC Executive Director, Marla Bilonick.
About the CDFI Fund:
Since its creation in 1994, the CDFI Fund has awarded more than $2.2 billion to CDFIs, community development organizations, and financial institutions through the CDFI Program, the NACA Program, the Bank Enterprise Award Program, the Capital Magnet Fund, and the Financial Education and Counseling Pilot Program. To learn more about the CDFI Fund and its programs, please view the Fact Sheet or visit the CDFI Fund's website at www.cdfifund.gov.
About Community Economic Development:
The Community Economic Development (CED) program is a Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Community Services (OCS) initiative designed to address the economic needs of low-income individuals and families through the creation of sustainable business development and employment opportunities.
Learn more about CED.