At first glance, Gabe seems like the perfect example of Silicon Valley success. Instead of attending college, he spent years honing his skills as a coder, eventually earning himself a coveted position at Facebook. He’s married and has an opinionated dachshund named Reggie. What he didn’t have was a credit history.
Without a strong credit score or credit history, it’s nearly impossible to rent an apartment, qualify for an affordable loan, or open a credit card. Instead, credit-poor individuals frequently turn to predatory lenders, beginning a destructive and often inescapable cycle of debt. As Bay Area costs rise, driving the average rent on a one-bedroom apartment toward $3,000, even Gabe’s stable income wasn’t assurance enough for mainstream lenders. Desperate to establish the credit history he needed, Gabe turned to Lending Circles, a new program offered in partnership with Mission Asset Fund.
Every month, Gabe joins 10 other members of his Lending Circle and adds his monthly payment of $100 to the shared pot, bringing the total to $1,100. Loan recipients rotate each month until the entire circle has received their $1,100 loan. In the meantime, each loan payment is reported to two credit bureaus, improving the average participant’s credit score by 168 points.
With Lending Circles, we continue to adapt to meet the emerging needs of our community, including populations beginning to struggle in the face of Silicon Valley’s skyrocketing success and the costs that come with it. Whether a single-parent fighting to drive down their debt, or a millennial desperate to avoid it, Peninsula Family Service provides the support and tools to help each of our neighbors reach their full potential.
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.