Sometimes Entrepreneurs Need a Loan. Other Times, They Need our Voice.

Our advocacy vision is to help create an inclusive world in which all entrepreneurs have the opportunity to make their dreams come true, and struggling communities become economically vibrant. To succeed, we need to change the broader systems impacting our work and the communities we serve.

That’s why we will continue to support sensible public policies and produce original research to close the opportunity gap and move the conversation forward. Our policy, advocacy and research activities are important levers to support our growth, our impact, and our campaign for the systemic changes we hope to achieve across the country.

What We’re Advocating
Right Now

Coronavirus Relief Package Provides Important Small Business Assistance, But Much More Must be Done to Help Vulnerable Entrepreneurs

March 26, 2020 by Gwendy Donaker Brown

Opportunity Fund’s Vice President of Research and Policy, Gwendy Brown, issued the following statement in response to the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package passed by the Senate--calling for the appropriation of $1 billion for the CDFI Fund in a final bill to help the most vulnerable small businesses, and automatic approval of CDFIs as authorized stimulus fund lenders.

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OCC and FDIC’s Proposed Rules Would Weaken Community Reinvestment Act

December 16, 2019 by Gwendy Donaker Brown

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s (FDIC) proposed changes to the Community Reinvestment Act threaten to weaken the historic civil rights law aimed at encouraging banks to invest in low-to-moderate-income communities and small businesses. Based on our initial read of the proposed changes, the reforms would significantly dilute the importance of CRA ratings and fail to ensure a sufficient flow of capital into underserved communities — especially communities of color, immigrant communities, and rural parts of the nation.

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Our Current Policy Priorities

Advance Responsible Business Lending on behalf of every American small business owner. Unlike consumers, small business owners have few legal protections from high-cost, low-transparency loans that can cause more harm than good. The Small Business Borrower’s Bill of Rights (BBoR) is the first cross-sector consensus on the responsible lending practices that all small businesses deserve and should serve as a guide to state and federal policymakers. The BBoR includes the rights to:

  1. Transparent pricing and terms
  2. Non-abusive products
  3. Responsible underwriting
  4. Fair treatment from brokers
  5. Responsible underwriting
  6. Fair treatment from brokers
Advance Responsible Business Lending

Support and Improve Federal Programs that foster economic opportunity. Underserved entrepreneurs can thrive with a fully funded Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund. Low income communities can invest in quality services and jobs with a permanent New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) program. Financial institutions can do their part to fully serve all neighborhoods with a robust Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). And all consumers benefit when the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) fights against unfair, deceptive and abusive practices.

Expand State Credit Enhancement Programs that help lenders say “yes.” State-run Capital Access Programs (CAPs) make it possible to fund entrepreneurs that are generally considered “too risky” to get the capital they need. For each loan enrolled, CAP programs provide a small contribution to a loan loss reserve account – providing a high degree of leverage (and therefore, impact) per public dollar invested. To create a healthy ecosystem for underserved small business owners, these programs must be expanded.


November 2019

Accelerating Opportunity: The Impact of Opportunity Fund’s Trucking Program

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October 2018

Reporting on Impact: Repeat Borrowers Building Credit, Boosting Revenue, Supporting Jobs

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April 2018

Helping Entrepreneurs Write their Own Success Stories

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September 2017

Building Technology for Cross-Sector Collaboration

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June 2016

Ripple Effect: The Macroeconomic Impact of Small Business Lending

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May 2016

Unaffordable and Unsustainable: The New Business Lending on Main Street

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February 2015

Notes from the Frontlines in the Small Business Finance Revolution: A Microlender’s View

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April 2013

U.S. Microfinance: Small Loans, Big Results

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January 2011

Microlending in the United States

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September 2019

Annual Report – FY 2018

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