Mission Asset Fund
Zero Intrest Lending System
MAF started in a neighborhood in San Francisco wehere 44% of resident's have no credit scores. MAF is located in San Francisco’s vibrant Mission District, a neighborhood known for its street festivals, colorful murals, and super burritos. It’s home to cooks, house cleaners, and small business owners who dream of someday sending their kids to college or owning a home. But without bank accounts or credit histories, everyday activities like paying bills or renting an apartment can be a daunting challenge.
MAF was founded in 2007 when the Levi Strauss Foundation and a dynamic group of community leaders came together and imagined a different future for Mission residents. They founded our organization using a million dollar investment funded by the sale of the last Levi Strauss denim factory in San Francisco. With a little creativity, they hoped that everyone in the community could have a chance to reach their dreams, one step at a time.
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.
Lending Circles provides a zero-interest loan to help participants build credit and access an affordable, small dollar loan. Participants take our online financial training class before joining a Lending Circle. Six to ten people come together for an in-person formation and decide on an amount for their group loan, for example 10 participants for a loan of $1000. Each participant can have their own need or goal for the money they borrow, whether its paying off debt or paying for tuition.
Everyone in the Lending Circle makes the same monthly payment ranging from $50 to $200, which MAF reports to the credit bureaus. The loan rotates each month to a different participant. In the first month, one participant receives $1000 and each month after that a different borrower will receive the loan, until everyone in the Lending Circle has gotten a chance. After completing the program, many participants establish credit scores for the first time or improve damaged ones.