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Iowa CCI secures second $50,000 for loan program


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Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI) has reached an agreement with First American Bank for $50,000 in loan funds. The loans, to be made in two installments of $25,000 each, will enable the nonprofit organization to continue its small-dollar loan program for low-income residents in Greater Des Moines.

The nonprofit organization established the program earlier this year with an initial loan of $50,000 from Bankers Trust Co.; those funds were used up within three months, however. The program provides one- to three-year loans of up to $1,500 at 12 percent interest for emergency expenses to enable participants to stop frequenting high-fee payday lenders. (See Sept. 21 cover story, “Small loans, big plans,” or go to http://tinyurl.com/yan2zcu)

“We’ve talked with (First American Bank) for some time,” said Chris Neubert, an organizer with Iowa CCI, who said the loans will be made through the bank’s Beaver Avenue branch. The organization’s long-term goal is to enlist a number of financial institutions that can step up when needed to provide funds for the program, he said.

Iowa CCI provides initial screening of applicants, financial counseling and follow-up. The organization has a list of approximately 200 additional people who have applied for the program, Neubert said. It expects the program will resume making loans by early November.

Neubert said his organization has found little correlation between applicants’ credit scores and their repayment records, and that it may drop a minimum credit score criterion from its screening process.

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