Despite many honest attempts to address inequity in the lending industry, the barriers to accessing capital for business owners in low-income and marginalized communities persist. 

To create an alternative financial system in New Mexico that supports underserved communities, OFN ally Nusenda Credit Union is working with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation; the Albuquerque Community Foundation; the McCune Charitable Foundation; and local, community-based organizations through City Alive, a collective-impact initiative focused on entrepreneurship. The relationship-based, community-circle microlending program, called Co-op Capital, transcends the formulas typically used for eligibility. 

People who are unbanked or underbanked need guidance, but so do financial institutions that ignore underserved communities. Financial literacy and cultural competency are almost always siloed—with the former housed in credit unions, banks, and other financial institutions, and the latter housed in community organizations. Co-op Capital makes equitable, culturally adept lending possible by bringing community organizations directly into the process. 

 

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