Zidisha now offers “Starter Loans” for borrowers without local credit histories

An idea that has long been advocated by many of our lenders, borrower applicants and volunteers is now taken live on our website:

Starting today, Zidisha will no longer restrict membership to borrowers who have previously taken loans with local banks.  Instead, each new member will be allowed to raise up to $100 for his or her first Zidisha loan.  Successful repayment performance will qualify members for progressively larger loans over time.

Applicants must still pass a background check, provide extensive personal data and have the support of a local community leader in order to join Zidisha.  Eliminating the prior credit history requirement is intended to open up access to individuals who lack access to local financial services, such as youth or people who do not own assets that can be used as collateral.  This brings us closer to our mission of breaking down financial barriers for the world’s most marginalized communities.

To learn more about the new loan size progression criteria and view some of the discussion that informed this decision, please visit the threads Adjustments to eligibility criteria and loan size progression and Starter Loans for Social Capital in our User Forum.

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