Image credits: Grameen America
The nonprofit microlenders with the greatest success in the American market combine microlending programs with microsavings and financial literacy education. The Aspen Institute’s FIELD Program collects data for the US Microenterprise Census. The latest data from the 2014 survey lists nonprofit microlenders with the highest loan amounts disbursed.
Grameen America is affiliated with the Grameen Foundation. They work with poor communities and women. Loan-seekers develop a working group of five women and attend financial training for a week. At the end of the training, the women open a savings account and receive a $1,500 microloan to start a small business.
Grameen America disbursed $100.7 million in 2014. This foundation was started by Nobel Peace Prize winner and social entrepreneur Muhammed Yunus. They announced on October 27, 2016, that they had reached half a billion dollars in disbursement.
California’s Opportunity Fund works primarily with minority-owned and women business owners; they provide financial literacy education and microsavings programs in addition to microloans. 2014 disbursement was $17.7 million.
ACCION New Mexico has been in business for twenty years, and offers small business loans of $1,000 to $1 million. They work with business owners in New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, Colorado, and Nevada. They also offer microlending services and other financial services in 32 countries. With a focus on young and underrepresented new business owners, they are addressing some of the concerning disparities in entrepreneurial growth. Microloans in 2014: $8.9 million. Accion recently closed their 10,000th loan!
The Business Center for New Americans provides microloans in New York City. They offer between $500 and $50,000 to new businesses in retail, light manufacturing, restaurant, or service industries. They also have an innovative mortgage program that includes savings and education so new Americans can qualify for government programs for first-home ownership. Their IDA Savings program offers financial literacy education with a savings and loan matching program.