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Flushing Chamber Launches Lending Circle Program

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Are you seeking ways to:

-Build and improve your credit score?

-Manage your long-term financial health?

-Obtain secure funding?

-Start or grow your business? 

The Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce is hoping that a small but innovative step can prove to be the key to unlock credit for individuals and business owners.

The chamber is launching a Flushing Lending Circle, in which they hope to combine customary immigrant practices with modern technology and finance to allow immigrant entrepreneurs to gain access to business capital.

“The biggest obstacle to entrepreneurship in our community is the lack of credit,” said John Choe, executive director of the chamber in an email. “The goal of our Flushing Lending Circle program is to help entrepreneurs overcome this obstacle so they can access the mainstream financial system and secure the capital they need to start or grow their business.”

To read more, visit the Queens Chronicle.

John Choe, executive director of the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce, explained that the formal lending circle fills a void while the traditional system still imposes a limit.

“Maybe you need a large amount of money to start a business, the informal lending circles doesn’t help build your credit because no one really knows that you’re paying the money back,” Choe said. “We are making a more official way of doing it.”

Along with the program, Flushing banks EastWest Bank and World Financial Group will also provide free workshops taught by local experts from the financial industry. The workshops will center around planning, insurance, investing, financial management, retirement planning and long-term care.

To read more, visit the Queens Ledger.

How Do Lending Circles Work?

lt can be difficult to make major decisions without having a moderate credit score. Utilizing a model pioneered by San Francisco-based Mission Asset Fund (MAF), the Flushing Chamber is offering individuals a way to rebuild their credit score and have access to zero interest loans. Once you join the lending circle, the group decides on the monthly payment amounts, which will most likely start at $50 a month. In addition, each month, one participant receives the entire pool of funds for the month and can use the money to help pay for a mortgage, car, or another big purchase. Every monthly payment is reported to the credit bureaus and, after six months, should generate a positive credit score.

For more details, visit Mission Asset Fund.

The Flushing Lending Circle will provide a zero-interest loan to help participants build credit. Anywhere from six to 10 people will be selected through a screening process and then they will decide on an amount for their group loan.

Each individual will make the same monthly payment ranging from $50 to $100, which would then be reported to credit bureaus. The loan pool rotates each month until each individual in the lending circle has a chance to get the money. The program helps participants establish credit scores for the first time or improve damaged scores.

“The chamber believes that economic opportunity is something that everyone should have access to and credit has often been the biggest barrier to people starting a business or growing a business or sometimes even getting a job,” John Choe, the chamber’s executive director, said.

To read more, visit the Times-Ledger.

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