4/4: Building Towards Our Vision
- Essential Common Future
This post was originally published by Community Credit Lab, which is now part of Common Future.
Community Credit Lab is focused on lending as the basis for approaching a more responsible and just financial system. We know that credit can (and does) play an enormous role in building the future of our society – as a result of this knowledge, we seek to use loans as a tool to remove socioeconomic barriers in collaboration with our partners. Simply put, we use loans as a tool to support our partners and communities to achieve their goals on their terms.
As our thinking and learning continue to evolve, there are currently three areas that we strive to better understand:
- Power: How can we shift power by decentralizing capital allocation decisions?
- Access: How can we use technology and relationships to facilitate increased and transparent access to credit?
- Affordability: How can we collaborate to reduce the cost of capital to borrowers?
To learn more about why we focus on power, access, and affordability as we support our partners to lead equitable lending programs, please read our research highlighted in the first two blogs of this series.
Research: Analysis associated with community investment and/or developing an affordable community lending program. Components may include landscape analysis, gap analysis, partner analysis, fund/investor analysis and a bespoke output in written or presentation format.
Lending Program Design: Community Credit Lab works with organizations or coalitions to support a consumer or commercial lending program design process. We view our role in this process as supporting others to actualize their vision for an equitable community lending program. In these workshops, our partners determine when funding is most supportive, what type of funding is most useful, and how to determine who receives funding. The goal of these workshops is to develop a robust plan to pilot or scale a lending program led by our partners.
Investment Structuring: Community Credit Lab works with our partners to structure impact investment opportunities that seek to incorporate principles of a just transition to an equitable society. Specifically, we focus on private investment structures that facilitate capital towards inclusive economic solutions led by community partners.
Capital Facilitation: We work with our partners to host impact investment opportunities via software that showcases the community lending program and partner. This includes a “deal room” that outlines the specifics of the investment opportunity, an online process that streamlines investor document execution, and facilitation of ACH and Wire transfers of investor funds.
Loan Management: Once a program has been designed, either in collaboration with Community Credit Lab or independently, we can provide the back-office infrastructure needed to pilot and/or scale an affordable lending program. At the direction and leadership of our partners, these services include final underwriting, compliance, origination and servicing of loans, accounting, data analytics, and reporting.
Reporting & Analytics: This support service includes credit reporting to major credit bureaus, data analytics to improve the lending program, and standardized partner, investor and donor reporting.
Call to Action
Whether you engage with us directly, engage with other groups involved in new economic thinking, or continue to learn more on your own time about systemic discrimination in the financial system, we encourage you to take the next step and join a growing movement of people and organizations working towards inclusive change.
Our belief is that it takes a village to support an individual – and that it takes an individual to support a village. We cannot do this work without a collective effort from our partners, our funders, our investors, our families, and our communities. We are grateful to be on this journey together with them and proud of their trust and delegation of this work to us.
This article is part 4 of a 4 part series outlining our research, thoughts, and vision for the Community Credit Lab to keep working with communities to make lending more equitable.
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