In April 1999, Justine PETERSEN founded Great Rivers Community Capital (Great Rivers), a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), as a wholly-owned subsidiary. CDFIs are specialized institutions that work in market niches that are not adequately served by traditional financial institutions. Great Rivers originates consumer, housing, and micro-enterprise loans to low-income families who lack access to safe and affordable capital.
Great Rivers is focused on expanding consumer finance products as an alternative to pay day lenders and opportunity to establish credit and banking relationships. As the credit market tightens, it is more difficult to access affordable financing with imperfect credit. Pairing Justine PETERSEN’s Credit Building Services with Great Rivers’ consumer finance products and building on strong partnerships help the under-banked to access mainstream financial institutions and start on the path to homeownership.
Since Great Rivers began CDFI lending in 2002, it has originated:
- $5.7 million in small dollar loans to 9,648 individuals for short-term emergencies, credit building enhancement, and payday loan alternative;
- $3.4 million in first and second mortgage loans to 524 borrowers for down payment and closing costs, foreclosure prevention, and debt consolidation and
- $61.2 million to over 2,936 entrepreneurs for micro-enterprise.
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