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Emergency Loan Program

Emergency Loan Program



The GoWest Foundation partnered with Philanthropy Northwest to prototype a fast, zero-interest emergency loan program to reach low-income and undocumented workers across the West. As displaced workers waited for stimulus funds or unemployment insurance, they were working on household budgets – many came to the conclusion that despite the assistance, it wouldn’t make ends meet. That’s why GoWest Foundation devised this program in concert with not-for-profit, cooperatively owned credit unions to help finance this gap in income. Without access to this type of capital, many families would have turned to predatory payday lenders that would entrench them in crippling debt, or they would go without critically important daily essentials like food, housing, medication, or utilities.

With grant support, the GoWest Foundation and its network of credit unions provided guaranteed loans to displaced workers across the Northwest, getting capital quickly out to people who were in greatest need. The program was initiated with partial funding and rolled out iteratively from region to region. It was critical that we provided an opportunity to reach those who were unbanked/underbanked and introduce them into people-first financial services.

Basic loan program details:

• GoWest Foundation raises funds in grants and PRI support for a guarantee pool.
• Guarantee amounts are allocated to participating credit unions.
• Credit unions make loans up to $2,500, with a 24-month term, 0% interest, and initial payment that’s deferred for 90 days.
• For high-risk borrowers, loan portfolios are guaranteed at 75%. Borrowers include those who are undocumented, underbanked, have poor credit, or high debt-to-income ratios.
• For less credit-challenged borrowers, loan portfolios are guaranteed at 25%.

If you would like to learn more about the Emergency Loan Program, please reach out to the GoWest Foundation team.