MOST banks wouldn’t lend to Roberta. She arrived in New York from Mexico with papers but no credit history. But Neighborhood Trust Federal Credit Union, which specialises in lending to immigrants, gave her advice and a $2,000 loan. She started out selling Mexican food from a cart. She now runs a food truck, employs five people and has plans to expand.
Many immigrants, like Roberta, want to save or start a business. But they struggle to get finance. In America 23% of households headed by a non-citizen, and 35% of households where only Spanish is spoken, have no bank accounts—compared with 8% for the population as a whole. There are multiple barriers: not just low incomes, which make it hard to meet minimum-balance requirements, but also trouble with language, identification and trust.
Neighborhood Trust is trying to change that. More than half its members are Latino, largely from the Dominican Republic, and many are undocumented. Most of the staff are themselves immigrants, and know their members well: they visit borrowers’ businesses often and offer workshops on financial literacy. The hands-on approach keeps default rates low.
Other financial firms, in both America and Europe, are also finding new ways to serve immigrants. Some are like Neighborhood Trust—small and community-minded. Others are startups hoping for big profits. Oportun is a good example: the American lender has made loans of $1.9 billion since 2006, mostly to Latinos, using big data and clever algorithms to lend to those without a credit history.
These firms have several tactics in common. The first is to make it easy to open an account—a process that is often unnecessarily slow and intimidating. Monese, a startup based in London, allows European migrants to open an account by phone with just a photo of a passport and a selfie.
Pour consulter l'article en entier : http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21685501-catering-foreign-born-customers-growing-niche-finance-far-sighted?fsrc=rss