Consumer Loans

Investing in sustainability and asset protection

With a fish tank burbling in the background, Guillermina Rodriguez talks about what she has been able to achieve with the support of ACLF.

Two years ago, Ms. Rodriguez received a home loan from ACLF that enabled her and her five children – Priscilla now 19, Brenda 17, Juan 14, Sosana 11, and Esmerelda 8 – to move out of a shelter and into her own home.

Ms. Rodriguez helped with the construction and she was surprised to find that she liked construction and she was good at it. In fact, she logged more than the required self-help hours.

After acquiring her home however, Ms. Rodriguez realized that her family was again at risk – this time, for deportation. She needed to work here legally, but as a cook at a childcare center, she couldn’t afford the $3,000 to complete the process for herself and her children. She turned to ACLF a second time.

Ms. Rodriguez applied for and received a Consumer Loan, which covered her fines, filing fees, and fingerprinting. Now she and her children live, work, and attend school here legally.

Ms. Rodriguez calls this “her triumph.” She passed her driver’s test on the first try and is happy to finally be self-reliant. “In Mexico, I lived with family members and was a burden. Here, I relied on family and friends for rides. Now I can do these things myself.”

What’s next? Ms. Rodriguez is taking English classes and studying for her G.E.D. She hopes someday to become a teacher at the pre-school where she works. For now though, she and her children are happy with their home and their legal status.


Consumer Loans

These loans assist low-income, rural families facing crisis situations that can be avoided with a relatively small investment, usually less than $1,000. The loan must be needed to protect the health and well being of family members, such as emergency medical treatment, car repairs for transportation to work, or funeral expenses.

Colonia residents operate on a cash basis and have had few or no relationships with traditional financial institutions.

Typically, they cash their checks at a cash-checking place and pay their bills in cash. When colonia residents have an emergency and need cash, they will go to a pawn shop and sell what little assets they may have. They will also utilize rent-to-own merchants when they can’t afford to purchase a television, DVD players, furniture, and tires.

ACLF is the only loan fund in the region designed to meet the non-traditional financial needs of colonia families who earn at or below 50% of the area median income and who lack the employment and credit rating requirement to access traditional loans.