Life Asset Credit Union
Life Asset Credit Union will provide a scalable and insured structure to enable the poor to save money, raise capital, and access banking services at affordable rates. We have received preliminary approval from the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) to submit an application to start a federally-insured credit union with ‘low-income designation’ in the Adams Morgan neighborhood. We are in the process of applying for pre-approval in Anacostia as well. The NCUA has awarded Life Asset a no-cost technical assistant to guide us through the credit union chartering process.
There are several steps involved in completing the Charter application. One is gathering a minimum of 600 market survey forms from individuals indicating an interest in becoming a member of the credit union once it is chartered. If you are interested in helping us receive the charter, please complete our survey.
Life Asset Financial Training
Life Asset Financial Training provides counseling and creates a community of support to help people get out of bad debt, save, invest, and give back to the community. Our initial response to the need of financial training is that we have started a Debtors Anonymous group (modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous) that not only works on the practical financial steps of getting out of debt, but also on behavioral changes. We use the train-the-trainer model. We are working on a website designed to provide relevant information and tools for people who want to become a mentor and help others develop financial skills and positive banking relationships.
Life Asset Loan Fund
Life Asset has trained over 1000 entrepreneurs. To date, we have provided 150 business loans with over 98 percent payback rate. We provide business training and small loans to entrepreneurs who want to start or expand a business but are having difficulties getting loans from traditional banks.
Statistics show that 45 percent of small businesses fail because they are unable to get the loan they need. To participate in the Loan Fund, entrepreneurs are required to complete a six-week business training class and commit to meet bi-weekly in a group of five entrepreneurs. Our average loan amount is $950.
Our loan program is modeled after the Grameen Bank lending model. Grameen Bank was started in 1976 in Bangladesh by Nobel Laureate Professor Mohammed Yunus. Since its inception, Grameen Bank has loaned over $11 billion to 8 million borrowers, 96 percent of whom are poor women in rural areas.
Life Asset Emergency Fund
A special fund will provide financial “Manna” for those who need it the most. It is designed to help prevent one emergency from leading to another. For example, the need to spend $75 for a new car tire can lead to problems paying that month’s rent or other critical needs that can snowball into full-blown financial crisis. We are exploring new ways to give money that empowers people. Two of the goals of the Emergency Fund are to be a financial bridge and to teach financial skills.