Bridging the Credit Gap with Credit Builders Alliance
WITHOUT ACCESS TO CREDIT and financial services, it can be difficult for individuals and families to make progress toward achieving life’s exciting milestones – from opening a first credit card, to renting an apartment or leasing a new car. At Equifax, we are committed to helping consumers live their financial best, and working to help bridge the credit gap for underserved communities is an essential step in doing just that.
While expanding access to credit is a core Equifax commitment – underscoring the work we do every day – we understand that making significant strides toward enabling financial inclusion cannot truly happen without collaboration and support across communities. Through the Equifax Foundation, we are a proud partner of Credit Builders Alliance (CBA), a network of nonprofits dedicated to helping organizations move people from poverty to prosperity. As we close out Financial Literacy Month, we’re spotlighting the work of CBA and some of their partner nonprofits to enable financial inclusion for all.
Driving meaningful connection
Credit Builders Alliance connects credit reporting agencies like Equifax with nonprofit lenders, financial educators and asset builders that help tens of thousands of low-to-moderate income individuals across the nation build credit. With services ranging from providing CBA’s Credit as an Asset curriculum for financial advisors and coaches, to assisting nonprofit lenders serving vulnerable populations to report borrowers’ loans to the credit bureaus, CBA’s one-of-a-kind umbrella network of nonprofits is helping make credit building possible for everyone.
One of the ways CBA does this is through CBA Reporter, a solution for nonprofit lenders to report loan data to consumer reporting agencies for the purpose of building individual credit. By connecting Equifax with those nonprofit lenders, CBA enables these lenders to furnish borrower data, helping people to build and improve credit scores in a way that wouldn’t be possible without CBA.
“Through CBA Reporter, we are advancing our joint responsibility alongside Equifax and our nonprofit partners to ensure consumer data is reported accurately and appropriately, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg,” commented Dara Duguay, CEO of Credit Builders Alliance. “At CBA, we are dedicated to increasing the capacity of nonprofit organizations in helping their clients build credit, and support from Equifax helps make that possible.”
Enabling community impact
CBA’s philosophy is simple: good credit is essential to achieving and maintaining financial stability, and mission driven nonprofits are uniquely positioned to help struggling households build credit. Through its CBA Access service, nonprofit organizations can access consumer credit reports through exclusive CBA partnerships to help their clients.
Specifically, with CBA Access nonprofit lenders can access Equifax credit reports for use in financial coaching and counseling in addition to outcome tracking and underwriting. As a consequence, Equifax credit reports provide direct support to help individuals and families in their communities achieve financial stability.
Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, Common Wealth Charlotte is one such nonprofit, leveraging Equifax credit reports through CBA Access to enable lending opportunities for its customers and in turn, help create bright financial futures. Common Wealth Charlotte not only offers interest-free loans to provide solutions for community members facing short-term emergencies, but also helps previously unbanked or underbanked individuals obtain checking and savings accounts; and provides financial workshops, counseling and more to set clients up for financial success in the long-run. While loan approval at Common Wealth Charlotte is not dependent on a consumer’s credit score, having access to its clients’ consumer credit reports helps enable the more than 10,000 hours of one-to-one financial counseling that has directly benefited more than 5,000 people in the Charlotte area.
Further in St. Louis, Missouri, Prosperity Connection is also working to make available the financial access, skills and resources its community members need to achieve economic success. As a partner in the St. Louis Builds Credit initiative – which is also a partner of the Equifax Foundation – Prosperity Connection provides financial coaching, personal finance classes and credit reviews to help St. Louisans set the goals they need to achieve their financial dreams. Through CBA Access, Prosperity Connection leverages Equifax consumer credit reports to help guide clients in building the credit scores they need to achieve financial freedom.
“These organizations are making incredible strides in driving upward economic mobility for their communities, and I’m proud that Equifax can play a role in making that possible,” commented Chris Hobday, vice president of U.S. Information Solutions (USIS) at Equifax and Credit Builders Alliance Board member. “As our partnership with CBA has grown over the past few years, Equifax has been able to drive community-level impact in a way that wouldn’t be possible without CBA and its nonprofit partners, together at the forefront of building financial inclusion.”