Life Asset Business and Financial Training
Life Asset provides ongoing financial and business training to low-income entrepreneurs. Our peer-group training model creates a community of support to help people get out of bad debt, save, invest, and give back to the community. Based on Debtors Anonymous (modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous), we work not only on the practical business and financial steps, but also on behavioral changes. We use the train-the-trainer model.
Life Asset Loan Fund
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, credit unions and other non-profit lenders.
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 initial loan amount is $950 and can increase based on timely loan repayments.
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.
Life Asset Emergency Fund
A special fund provide “emergency loans” 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.
Life Asset Credit Union (under formation)
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. Once we have gained enough momentum and loan volume with our Loan Fund (see above) we will submit the final application. The proposed Life Asset Credit Union will complement and support our current programs.