Today, Opportunity Fund releases a new report “Building Technology for Cross-Sector Collaboration: A Case Study of Fintech-CDFI Partnership Success” about the recently launched partnership between Opportunity Fund and LendingClub.
In 2015, Opportunity Fund joined with LendingClub and Craft3 in a first-of-its-kind partnership between a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and a fintech lender. Through this partnership, Opportunity Fund and LendingClub are expanding access to affordable capital for small businesses across the country. In a market where many “alternative” online lenders are attracting customers with fast turnaround times and deceptive pricing, many small businesses are getting caught in high-cost financing contracts or finding themselves without affordable options for capital to help their businesses grow. The partnership between Opportunity Fund and LendingClub combines the mission focus of a CDFI with the online lending expertise of a fintech, creating a new model for transparent, responsible lending services that meet the needs of today’s small business owner. The additional participation of Craft3 as our CDFI partner creates broader potential for growth and scale for this innovative model.
As part of this initiative, and with generous support from JPMorgan Chase, the partners committed to evaluating the model and sharing learnings with our community of stakeholders. In June 2017, we hosted a webinar to share some of our insights on this innovative CDFI-fintech partnership. Our written report, released today, further explores the partnership’s rationale, history, and performance between June 2015 and May 2017.
Our goal is to provide CDFIs, funders, policy makers, and other interested parties a closer look at how one mission-based lender designed, launched, and expanded a cross-sector partnership. While the report is not a how-to manual, we seek to share relevant lessons for how CDFIs can create successful fintech partnerships. Some of the key takeaways revealed through our assessment include the following:
These themes are explored in greater detail throughout the report. Download the full report here.