Fig Loans Becomes First FinTech to receive CDFI and B Corp Certifications

HOUSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Houston based Fig
Loans
is the first FinTech company to receive both B Corporation and
Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) certifications.
Started as a collaboration with the United Way of Greater Houston, Fig
uses predictive analytics to offer credit building alternatives to
predatory loans. With both CDFI and B Corp awards under its belt, Fig is
the only FinTech that meets two of the highest standards for social
performance, transparency and accountability to the community.


While brands like Patagonia and Ben and Jerrys have made B Corps
synonymous with commitment to social responsibility, CDFI is a lesser
known but more powerful distinction particularly because of the focus on
financial institutions. CDFIs are certified by the U.S. Department of
the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund. All
CDFIs are mission driven financial institutions working in local
communities by providing critically needed financing often unavailable
from mainstream financial institutions. In order to become a certified
CDFI, financial institutions must meet the following requirements: have
a primary mission of promoting community development; provide financial
products and services; serve one or more defined low-income target
markets; and maintain accountability to the community it serves. Most
CDFIs are non-profits, community development banks and credit unions;
only a select few institutions like lenders and venture capital funds
receive the award.

Fig’s mission is to give working class Americans a second chance at
building credit with the long-term goal of transitioning into mainstream
credit products. The idea for the company originated from conversations
with non-profit financial coaches and Fig continues to partner with
nonprofit agencies across Texas to serve clients who would otherwise
resort to payday, title or pawn shop loans.

“The definition of a CDFI aligns word for word with the founding vision
for Fig,” says Co-Founder Jeff Zhou. “We are constantly impressed by the
tremendous work our nonprofit partners do for communities underserved by
mainstream financial services. Fig’s job is to support and enhance the
impact of these amazing organizations with our finance and technology
capabilities.”

Adrianna Cuellar Rojas, President and CEO of the United Ways of Texas
also believes that Fig’s partnership model highlights the best aspects
of technology and social sector collaboration. “United Ways across the
state are actively working to support their communities including
individuals who work yet struggle financially. Fig’s designation as a
CDFI will now allow them to partner with local banks and expand their
portfolio of payday lending alternatives.”

Beyond recognition, CDFI certification is the stepping stone for Fig to
deepen engagement with traditional financial institutions. As a CDFI,
Fig can help banks fulfill their obligation to provide capital to
underserved communities through the Community Reinvestment Act. Fig will
work with their advisory board of nonprofit partners to select the most
suitable banks for long-term partnerships in each community. Becca
Fritze, Manager of Financial Coaching at the United Way of Greater
Houston and member of the Board believes that the CDFI certification is
the missing piece of the puzzle for Fig. “Having a CDFI within the
THRIVE network means a great deal because it creates a tangible way for
local banks to reinvest dollars within the community. It creates a
trifecta of players (financial institutions that have the
dollars, nonprofits that provide critical wraparound supports and
services, and Fig, which has the technology-powered solutions) that can
make a difference for those who are shut out from traditional forms of
finance.”

To learn more about Fig and their journey, please reach out to Zara
Mohidin, Head of Partnerships at zara@figloans.com.

About Fig Loans

Fig provides credit building products for consumers and financial
stability tools for community organizations. Started 2015 through a
collaboration with United Way of Greater Houston, Fig is a graduate of
Village Capital and TechStars in 2016 and has provided over $6.1M in
loans to underserved Americans. CDFI is the second major certification
for the FinTech company, which became a Certified B Corporation in 2017
and was honored as Best in the World for Consumers in 2018 by the B
Corporation certifying body B Lab. To learn more about the Fig’s
products visit https://figloans.com/about/responsible-lending-model.

About United Ways of Texas

The mission of the United Ways of Texas is to integrate action and
resources for the common good. UWT is an association working with local
United Ways across the state representing 254 counties. Together we work
across our communities to tackle common challenges that affect our local
communities but are bigger than any of us — challenges our entire state
faces. Along with United Ways across the country, we are part of a
global network of more than 1,800 United Ways, serving communities in 41
countries. For more information, go to www.uwtexas.org.

About United Ways of Greater Houston

United Way of Greater Houston partnered with Fig to create Fig Loans
because safe and affordable loans are critical to many of the families
served by United Way’s financial stability initiative, United Way
THRIVE. United Way THRIVE is a collaborative that helps lower-income,
working families increase their income, build savings, and acquire
assets. To achieve their goals, THRIVE clients often must borrow money
and are among the most vulnerable to predatory lending. Fig Loans are a
good fit for THRIVE clients because they provide an alternative to
payday and other risky loans and help families get out of debt, get
through emergencies, and build credit. THRIVE pairs the loans with
financial coaching to make sure clients have the other resources and
support they need to be successful. Greater Houston area residents
interested in establishing a pathway to financial stability can call
United Way’s 2-1-1 Texas/United Way HELPLINE by dialing 2-1-1 to get
started.

Contacts

Zara Mohidin
Phone: 818-438-9020
Email: zara@figloans.com

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