Supersedes Discussion Paper 19-03 - Meet People Where They Are: Building Formal Credit Using Informal Financial Traditions

MAF’s signature program, Lending Circles, adapts a traditional community-based financial tool known as a rotating savings and credit association (ROSCA) to help establish or expand credit reports for participants who may not be able to do so through traditional means. Lending Circles have served more than 10,000 clients since 2007 and have expanded well beyond MAF’s core constituency in the Mission District of San Francisco. Quiñonez and Fairley discussed MAF’s approach to working with the communities it serves and shared the key successes and challenges that MAF has encountered. This paper provides an overview of the information shared in the workshop and additional research connecting Lending Circles to previous work on ROSCAs.