About Our Loans
Community Micro Lending has been connecting local lenders with local borrowers to help people build stronger financial futures for themselves, their families and their communities since 2009.
Our Approach: Peer-to-Peer
Community Micro Lending is a non-profit peer-to-peer intermediary. That means when someone is approved for a loan with us, we then crowd-raise the money for that loan from lenders in our community.
We currently only lend to borrowers based on southern Vancouver Island, B.C., Canada.
Core Loan Program
Community Micro Lending’s Core Loan Program offers two types of loans: Business (including start-up and expansion) and Training (for those looking to build skills to find or improve work).
Applications are not difficult, but they are thorough. They include a business or learning plan, budget and cashflow, letters of reference and other materials. We treat the application process like a learning opportunity and staff and volunteers are available to help applicants with the preparation of their applications. Please call or email us to learn more.
START-UP LOANS – If you’re about to launch or have been operating for less than a year, you can apply for a start-up loan of up to $5000.
EXPANSION LOANS – If you’ve been operating for a year or more, you can apply for an expansion loan of up to $10,000.
Training Loans are for people who need to take a course, program or exam in order to find employment or a better job. You can apply for up to $5,000 to go toward training fees, materials and/or living expenses.
Who reviews applications?
Community Micro Lending’s Loan Committee reviews the application along with any supporting material provided by the staff or volunteer who helped with the application. The Loan Committee may have questions about the application and request more information. In that case, the staff or volunteer working with the applicant will help the applicant fill those gaps.
What are we looking for?
We’re looking for a strong (not fancy!) plan, for the applicant to show us that they know what they’re getting themselves into and have the skills and support to do what they say they’re going to do, and a clear reason why they need a loan.
How long does it take?
It depends on how long it takes to complete the paperwork, how many questions the loan committee has and how quickly the applicant can respond to those questions. Once approved, the time it takes to receive the funds depends on how quickly we can raise the money from the community. The average time from first inquiry to loan dispersal is around six to eight weeks.
Am I guaranteed a loan?
No. We take debt and our commitment to our community of lenders very seriously. It may be recommended to lend less than what is asked for to start to build trust. Staff and volunteers are also connected with other resources and will recommend whatever may be a fit for what you’re trying to do.
How much does it cost?
All business and training loans cost 5% interest on the loan amount (2% interest to each lender and loan fund + 3% interest to us to help cover costs). There are no other fees and no penalties for early repayment.
What if I get sick or my business hits a rough patch?
We understand that behind every business is a human being and things happen. If you have a problem keeping up with monthly payments, talk to us and we’ll come up with a plan that is affordable for you and respectful of your commitment to our community lenders.
How much can I lend?
You can lend as little as $250. If you’d like to lend more than that, we encourage you to make small loans to multiple borrowers or to talk to us about contributing to a loan fund. We can also set up dedicated loan funds for a particular purpose.
What is my ROI?
Your principle + 2%.
When do I get paid back?
When the loan comes to term.
Is my loan guaranteed?
No. That’s why it takes a lot for us to write off a loan. We do everything we can to work with borrowers facing difficulty to come up with a plan to repay. As a result our repayment rate is 90%.
Do I have direct contact with my borrower?
No. As the intermediary, we manage all agreements and updates.
Pilot Loan Programs
As a non-profit dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs, we need to be entrepreneurial. From piloting new ways to help our community through crisis to testing better approaches to doing what we do, our pilot program is where we test and learn.