New Justine Petersen loan fund aims to reduce auto interest rates

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By Jacob Barker

ST. LOUIS — Nonprofit lender Justine Petersen and the charitable arm of Clayton financial firm Nisa Investment Advisors has launched a new program to refinance high-interest car loans for people with subprime credit scores.

The program, seeded with a $250,000 investment from the Nisa Charitable Fund, aims to reduce the interest rates paid on car loans for St. Louisans with low credit scores and pairs the new loans with credit counseling services from Justine Petersen.

“Research shows that those with subprime credit in St. Louis are paying an annual interest rate of approximately 20% for their auto loan, which consumes a disproportionate share of their monthly income,” Robert Boyle, founder and CEO of Justine Petersen said in a statement.

The program can offer auto loans with 6% interest rates. One client who just closed on a new loan through the program cut her interest rate from 20.35%, which saves her about $120 a month in interest, according to Justine Petersen.

“This is precisely the type of meaningful impact we want to achieve in our collaborations with community organizations in St. Louis,” Nisa CEO David Eichhorn said in a statement. “Our work with Justine Petersen is about yielding tangible, scalable results and remaining true to Nisa Charitable Fund’s mission to support organizations that are improving access to capital among traditionally underserved groups in St. Louis.”

The initial round of the program aims to refinance about 50 auto loans, and Justine Petersen hopes to raise additional capital to expand it soon. Interested borrowers can call Justine Petersen at 314-533-2411 to see if they qualify.