In countries all of the world, informal lending circles bring community members together to lend and borrow money. From the tandas and cunidas of Mexico to the hui of Asia, nearly every culture has a system for peer-to-peer lending.

In partnership with Mission Asset Fund, Peninsula Family Service is excited to offer Lending Circles, an innovative program that turns this decades-old tradition into a credit-building opportunity by reporting monthly loan payments to two credit bureaus. With the opportunity to build your credit, you gain access to more affordable loans, join the financial mainstream, and build up your emergency savings.

How it works

After applying online, participants attend an online or in-person financial education workshop to become more financially savvy and maximize the program’s impact. Then, six to twelve participants come together to form a Lending Circle and decide on a loan amount ($300 to $2400).

When the Lending Circle begins, each participant makes the same monthly payment ($50 to $200), which our partner, Mission Asset Fund, reports to the three credit bureaus (Equifax®, Experian® and TransUnion®). The loan recipient rotates every month until the entire Circle has received their loan. For example, 10 participants can form a Circle and agree to each contribute $50 a month, meaning a 10 month loan term for a total loan amount of $500.

Do I qualify?

To qualify, participants should:

  • Earn no more than 80% of the Area Median Family Income
  • Have an active email and checking account
  • Have a valid government issued ID, and Social Security Number or ITIN
  • Demonstrate an ability to afford the loan by providing two months of paystubs or three months of recent bank statements

How to apply

  1. Go to and select Peninsula Family Service as your Lending Circles provider
  2. Complete the online application
  3. Once your application has been submitted, you will be contacted by a Peninsula Family Service representative who will walk you through the next steps

Upcoming Information Sessions

Peninsula Family Service is able to offer Lending Circles thanks to a partnership with Mission Asset Fund (MAF).  As founders of this innovative program, MAF collaborates with select nonprofit partners to create credit-building opportunities across the country.

For San Mateo County inquiries, call Lex Medrano, Financial Empowerment Coordinator, at 650.403.4300 ext 4105 or by email.
For Santa Clara County inquiries, call Aileen Ochoa, Financial Empowerment Coordinator, at 408.577.1981 ext 311 or by email.