12 US-Based Microfinance Companies, Institutions and Lenders Committed to Making A Difference

Small businesses account for about two-thirds of the US economy. So, it’s important that entrepreneurs of every shape and size have adequate credit access and support to prosper. That’s where microloans come in. Micro loans are loans of smaller dollar amounts that are intended to help small businesses grow. Different micro lenders (institutions who provide micro loans) have different strategies to execute on the idea of shared prosperity, however, they all have one thing in common: they genuinely care about the success of each borrower and equip them with the tools necessary to thrive in a competitive economy full of big whig companies like Amazon, Google, Netflix, and Apple.

The Father of Microfinance, Muhammad Yannus, made microfinance and micro lending mainstream by winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. Many of the Microfinance companies listed below have modeled their success after Grameen Bank, the story told my Muhammad Yunnus in his book, Banker to the Poor. The premise is simple, build trust with your borrower and empower them through financial coaching, creating savings accounts, and mentorship through their own peers. Learn more about how Microfinance Companies are committed to making a difference by reading their stories below.

US-Based Microcredit Companies

Grameen America

Website: https://www.grameenamerica.org/ 

Microloans disbursed: $1.5B

Founded: 2008

Headquarters: New York City, New York

Grameen America’s carries on the legacy of nobel peace prize winner Muhammad Yunus’ Grameen Bank by helping entrepreneurial women who are impoverished and underbanked fund their businesses to enable financial freedom. Grameen America provides loans no higher than $2,000 initially coupled with financial literacy training, savings accounts, and support to their borrowers. Their target audience is women who are living below the federal poverty line. So, the training and support makes all the difference for their borrowers who typically do not possess the financial chops to operate a business on their own.

Grameen America boasts a 99% repayment rate. For comparison, TransUnion’s Industry Insights Report found the credit card delinquency rate reached 1.81% in Q3 2019.

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Website: https://www.kiva.org/ 

Microloans disbursed: $1.49B

Founded: 2005

Headquarters: San Francisco, CA

Kiva is an international nonprofit, founded in 2005 in San Francisco, that uses crowdfunding to disburse microloans to underserved communities to help them thrive. Anyone can be a lender through Kiva and 100% of your money goes directly to financing life ventures such as college, business, and agriculture. Grameen America boasts a 99% repayment rate on the loans that they provide small businesses.

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Website: https://www.bracusa.org/ 

Microloans disbursed: $2.3B

Founded: 1972

Headquarters: New York City, New York

Based in New York, BRAC USA employs a metrics-driven approach to test and pilot poverty-eliminating programs before scaling them across the world. Since offering microloans in 1974, BRAC has grown to become one of the world’s largest providers of financial services for the poor. BRAC USA also assists with education (not just financial), providing health care, and other ways of strategically eradicating poverty.

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Opportunity Fund

Website: https://www.opportunityfund.org/ 

Microloans disbursed: $905M

Founded: 1994

Headquarters: San Jose, CA

Opportunity Fund provides microloans to businesses predominantly for those owned by low- and moderate-income immigrants, people of color, and women. Opportunity Fund recognizes that hard work should be rewarded and that’s what the American Dream was originally intended to be about. One small loan could help a small business thrive and employ three people on average. Opportunity Fund boasts a 99% business survival rate.

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Website: https://www.dreamspring.org/

Microloans disbursed: $210M

Founded: 1994

Headquarters: Albuquerque, NM

Accion, now known as DreamSpring, is a microlender serving Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas. Their core values are passion, pioneering spirit, integrity, excellence, and accountability. Keeping their core values at the forefront of every decision they make, they have disbursed over 17,250 loans helping their communities thrive. Though the loans DreamSpring gives out aren’t traditional microloans, they are here to serve their communities and help lift entrepreneurs out of their current situation into a new stage of economic growth.

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Justine Peterson

Website: https://justinepetersen.org/

Microloans disbursed (2020): $8.37M

Founded: 1997

Headquarters: St. Louis, MO

Based out of Missouri, Justine PETERSON, continuing on the legacy of Justine M Peterson, is a pioneer in financial asset development among low and moderate-income individuals and families. Justine PETERSON focuses on helping low-income families build actual assets and wealth, not just short term cash to make ends meet. Their primary goal is to help their audience grow through credit building and financial education, homeownership preparation and retention, and micro-enterprise lending and training. Their newest venture, The Greencubator, is a 25,000 square foot office dedicated to helping food-related and green startups. We’ll be following this venture closely to witness its growth and positive impact on the world.

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CDC Small Business Finance Corp.

Website: https://cdcloans.com/ 

Microloans disbursed: $20.7B

Founded: 1978

Headquarters: Los Angeles, CA

CDC’s mission is to help ALL small businesses grow. This is especially important in an economy where small businesses make up approximately ⅔ of the nation’s economy. If we forget the little people, what would happen to the middle class? Or the American Dream?

CDC has given out loans to over 12,000 small businesses in America since its inception in 1978, topping our list for the most money going to small businesses.

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Main Street Launch

Website: https://mainstreetlaunch.org/ 

Microloans disbursed: $63.6M

Founded: 1979

Headquarters: Oakland, CA

Founded in 1979, Main Street Launch not only provides small businesses adequate credit to grow, they also provide mentorship, coaching, and support to equip SMB owners with the tools necessary to empower them. Through generous funding from Citi Foundation and Wells Fargo, Main Street Launch launched the African American Entrepreneurship Institute, designed to fund African-American owned businesses. Though still at an early stage, the initiative looks promising and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for Main Street Launch.

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Pacific Community Ventures

Website: https://www.pacificcommunityventures.org/ 

Microloans disbursed (2020): $33.6B

Founded: 1999

Headquarters: San Francisco, CA

Believing in shared prosperity and sustainable communities, Pacific Community Ventures addresses racial and gender wealth gaps by offering pro-bono advising to the entrepreneurs that they lend to. Helping over 2,800 businesses, PCV specializes in lending, advising, consulting, and research for small business ventures. The key to their success? Their “Good Jobs, Good Business”, meaning that if disadvantaged entrepreneurs were supplied the proper tools to succeed, they would. Simple as that. 

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Website: https://www.liftfund.com/ 

Microloans disbursed: $324.7M

Founded: 1994

Headquarters: San Antonio, TX

LiftFund is a non-profit small business lender based out of San Antonio, Texas. However, they support small businesses in 13 states: New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida. Putting a large emphasis on minority led ventures, LiftFund hopes to help these underserved communities achieve financial stability and growth. Using their own proprietary risk technology, LiftFund looks beyond credit scores to provide borrowers with the loan that best fits their needs. In 2019 alone, LiftFund disbursed $21.6 million in small business loans.

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Pursuit Lending

Website: https://pursuitlending.com/rebrand/ 

Founded: 2020

Headquarters: Albany, NY

Pursuit Lending is the product of New York Business Development Corporation and affiliates The 504 Company and Excelsior Growth Fund joining forces to host a full suite of support for small businesses to grow and expand, responsibly. Though the Pursuit logo is new this year, the combined experience of 65 years prior to the rebrand represents a preserving group of leaders who want to see small businesses in America and beyond succeed. Transparency is the cornerstone of their success, so they happily publish their financial statements each year for any interested parties to review. We’re excited to see what the future holds for the new brand!

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Business Center for New Americans (BCNA)

Website: https://nybcna.org/ 

Founded: 1997

Headquarters: New York City, New York

The Business Center for New Americans puts a heavy emphasis on paving the way for new entrepreneurial immigrants to succeed. They provide a myriad of resources to make this happen. Such as:

  • Small business loans
  • 1-on-1 business consulting and training
  • Financing & business workshops
  • Home buying incentives
  • Specialized savings programs for refugees

Over the years, the BCNA has helped more than 500,000 immigrants from 145 countries improve their financial well-being and integrate into a new country (that presents quite the challenge for any entrepreneur).

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