Consumer-Friendly Loan Program Tackles Predatory Lending
Reaching Remote Appalachia with Technology—and Passion
The Housing Fund is establishing home loan solutions for immigrant communities, seeking affordable and ethical housing financing in Tennessee. The Nashville and Middle Tennessee area is home to over 80,000 Kurds, Egyptians and Somalis, as well as many Sudanese and Hispanics. The Housing Fund is working closely with representatives of the local community and local bankers to implement the Alternative Payment Plan mortgage loan product in compliance with cultural norms and ethical financing.
Texas Community Capital is the network administrator of Rio Grande Multibank Corporation’s innovative Community Loan Center Small-Dollar Loan Program. Seed capital will allow Texas Community Capital to expand the employer-based loan program to borrowers needing access to credit as an alternative to high-cost payday and auto title loans by signing on and providing support to new mission-based franchisees in and outside of Texas.
Lower Valley Credit Union will use seed funds, along with strategic partnerships, to place Virtual Teller Machines in rural immigrant communities in Washington where residents have limited access to traditional bank branches. The 2,100 agricultural laborers who are employed at Broetje Orchards during peak fall harvest season will now have easy, local access to credit union services such as ITIN mortgage and consumer loans, and LVCU’s nationally acclaimed Citizenship Program.
Texas is one of the poorest states in the country; business is booming for predatory lenders. Payday, car title, and other high-cost, unscrupulous financing services make up a $6 billion-a-year industry that strips $1.5 billion in interest and fees from local economies. For consumers, the loans offer immediate financing when needed, but often trap borrowers in a cycle of debt.
In some areas of central Appalachia, residents have to travel more than 45 minutes to reach a bank branch. With just 90 people per square mile, one third of what you’d find in major metropolitan areas, mainstream banks have closed up shop.
Appalachian Community Federal Credit Union (ACFCU), a CDFI headquartered in Gray, Tennessee, is helping to fill this financial void.