Nusenda Credit Union
Co-op Capital: Widening Access Points to Financial Products

Nusenda Credit Union created Co-op Capital, a collaborative financial product that combines micro-lending and community sponsors. Co-op Capital was developed to widen access to capital that is usually out of reach for low-income entrepreneurs that either have bad credit, insufficient collateral or lack both. The traditional means of financing (banks, credit cards, investors) are simply not available to this group. The alternative means of financing (Community Development Financial Institutions, credit cards, friends and family) do not have the wherewithal or conditions to sustainably support the need. The Co-op Capital product is the “alternative to the alternative.” This is the only product on the market that allows the target population to access capital through a trusted community organization versus a financial institution. Uniquely, member organizations (co-ops, networks, unions, etc.) sponsor the loan application for their affiliates and provide the loan underwriting, while Nusenda Credit Union does the originating.

By focusing on niche entrepreneurs in member organizations, Co-op Capital combines the best of international microlending (character and community based) with the best of the American financial system, thereby increasing the growth and start of businesses in the community that will in turn increase job growth, employment opportunities and revenue in the community.