Lending Circles build credit, community, and help make dreams a reality

By Lisa Dyas February 27, 2017

After completing Rubicon's intensive two-week Foundations Workshop, and Financial Boot Camp, Angela was committed to building her assets to better support her family. She had already found employment at a local food company, but she still lacked the cash and credit score necessary to secure stable, permanent housing for her family. 

In October 2015, Angela decided to enroll in Lending Circles to help build her credit through a no-interest loan that would help her achieve her housing goals. Angela and seven other Rubicon participants each agreed to contribute $50 a month over the course of seven months and in turn, each would receive a $350 disbursement. Lending Circles at Rubicon are a partnership with Mission Asset Fund (MAF) to help people who do not have access to mainstream banking products build their credit. As with a credit card or traditional installment loans, payments to the circles are reported to the credit bureaus, and can help to significantly improve or establish credit.

Angela was the first member of her group to receive the disbursement. Because she had learned to manage and monitor her money closely, Angela noticed that an extra $350 dollars had been deposited into her account before her Rubicon Financial Coach even had the chance to call her. Certain that there had been a banking error, she said, "there was no way I was touching that money, I'm trying to build my credit!"

The disbursement made an immediate impact on Angela and her family. Working with Rubicon's Senior Housing Coach, she was able to find an apartment she could afford, and thanks to her Lending Circles loan, she had enough cash on-hand to cover her moving expenses. She and her family have now been stably housed for over a year. "To look at where I am now is a delightful feeling," she said. "I was running from my credit for so long, but now I just want to see it grow." Angela's long-term goals now include becoming a homeowner in the near future.

Angela's newfound credit stability has also opened many other doors. When her daughter enrolled in college in Los Angeles to study fashion design, she was able to co-sign the lease on an apartment that enables her daughter to live close to school in a safe environment. "Before I was always the one asking my mom or friends for help," Angela said. "To be able to do that was a pleasure." She is also passing along her knowledge of budgeting and credit building to her daughter in hopes that she will start her adult life on solid financial footing. 

Lending Circles also build community, and Angela and the other members of her group continue to stay in touch. As the first person to receive the disbursement and use it successfully to achieve her goals, she became the groups’ inspirational leader. "We were like a family," she said of her experience, "and took inspiration from each other’s successes." 

She also encourages members of her community who are struggling to try Rubicon's services and Lending Circles. One friend recently reached out to Angela to thank her for encouraging her to stick with the program. Hearing Angela's story encouraged her to stick with Rubicon's intensive two-week Foundations Workshop.  "Once I let her know my story, she stayed," Angela said. "She just told me that she is going to be joining Lending Circles soon, too." 

About Mission Asset Fund

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.

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