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pportunity Fund Partners with Meriwest Credit Union, Self-Help Federal Credit Union, and UMe Credit Union

January 07, 2021 / Ankur Saini

Opportunity Fund, the nation's leading nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) to small businesses, today declared partnerships with Meriwest Credit Union, Self-Help Federal Credit Union, and UMe Credit Union, part of the nonprofit lenders' $1 Billion obligation to investing in minimized businesses nationwide in the following two years. These partnerships increase small business owners' access to transparent, reasonable credit — especially among businesses claimed by ladies, ethnic minorities and provincial entrepreneurs — permitting credit unions to unquestionably allude members to the nonprofit loan specialist to meet their business credit needs responsibly while holding the general financial relationship.

"Credit unions and Community Development Financial Institutions like Opportunity Fund share a purpose: to ensure ready access to affordable, responsible, financial products and services in our communities," said Luz Urrutia, CEO of Accion Opportunity Fund. "By working together, we can build a more inclusive financial landscape, especially for women, immigrant and entrepreneurs of color."

Providing working capital loans from $2,600 to $100,000 to underserved businesses — including adaptable endorsing measures, less onerous documentation requirements than different lenders, multilingual customer service representatives accessible to answer questions 7 days every week/12 hours out of each day — in a snappy and customer driven way is Opportunity Fund's essential focus; credit unions and community bank partners are vital to that exertion.

"Creating and protecting ownership and economic opportunity for all is at the heart of what we do at Self-Help FCU. By collaborating with Opportunity Fund, we refer members for small business loans we don't offer in-branch, ensuring that whether it's us or our trusted partner Opportunity Fund, we can support entrepreneurs — especially entrepreneurs of color, women, and immigrant business owners — in making their dreams a reality," said Sarah Brennan, SVP of Southern California for Self-Help Federal Credit Union.

"Helping people is at the heart of what we do at UMe Credit Union. Having a trusted partner in Opportunity Fund to refer our members to for small business loans that we don't offer in-branch ensures we meet our mission and keep happy members," said Anita Hutchinson, UMe Chief Marketing Officer.

With credit unions assuming a phenomenal job in the financial support Americans need, many stepped forward to process PPP loans, inviting hundreds of new small business owners as members in the process. Presently many are searching for a mission-adjusted accomplice to offer progressing credit products and business support services they don't offer. During a test case program to test the CDFI + Credit Union partnership model in the eight months preceding the COVID-19 pandemic (July 2019 - Feb 2020), almost 90% of the small businesses upheld by Opportunity Fund are ladies, worker, or minority-possessed.

About Accion Opportunity Fund

In March, 2020, Opportunity Fund and Accion, The US Network, joined forces to establish Accion Opportunity Fund, the first organization focused on a national microlending strategy to meet the credit needs of small businesses – developing new products, establishing new partnerships, promoting research and financial education, and leveraging digital technologies to support mission-driven lending.

About Opportunity Fund

Opportunity Fund, the nation's leading nonprofit small business lender, believes small dollar loans help hard-working entrepreneurs make lasting change in their own lives and build stronger communities by growing businesses and creating jobs. Opportunity Fund's community of donors and investors is creating an inclusive financial system that empowers women, immigrants, and minority small business owners. Our strategy combines microloans for small business owners and New Markets Tax Credit investments in high-impact community infrastructure projects. Since 1994, Opportunity Fund has deployed more than $900 million and helped thousands of entrepreneurs invest in their families' futures. The organization has committed to lending an additional $1.2 billion to small business owners across the country and investing $174 million in community real estate projects by 2023.