Access to high-quality small-dollar credit is a key component of a successful financial life for many people to weather a financial shock, smooth income fluctuations, build a positive credit history, or facilitate a purchase. However, millions of people in the US become victims of predatory lending, getting loans with high fees, high interest rates, and/or unfavorable terms. It’s time that we create opportunities for mass access to responsible secured and unsecured credit.
DATA AT A GLANCE
* of the loans that have been evaluated as of April 2021
Total Auto Loans Outstanding
Average Loan Size
Auto Loan Borrowers
Credit Score (of borrowers with credit scores)
awarded by Clean Vehicle Assistance Program
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT
Most borrowers who have little or poor credit history do not have access to small-dollar credit or only have access to high-cost, low-quality small-dollar credit products that too often lead them into a cycle of repeat usage and mounting debt.
This is especially true in the auto industry. When getting a car loan from a dealer, pre-prime borrowers are often targeted with predatory practices. These practices include inflating the principal balance (original sum of money borrowed), upselling unnecessary items (insurance, warranties), and marking up interest rates.
OUR APPROACH AND IMPACT
Beneficial State Bank merged with Pan American Bank in August 2016 and welcomed a team of experts in pre-prime consumer auto lending. We are an alternative for people who have low or no credit scores and who are typically targeted by predatory lending practices. While it is challenging to compete with lenders who put their own and the car dealer’s profit above fair and transparent service to the customer, we don’t compromise on our mission to serve people and planet while still sustaining profit.
In mid-2018, we implemented an improved underwriting model. This model takes both the customer’s credit score and contents of their file into account, allowing us to better serve pre-prime customers by offering them rates and terms that set them up for success (rather than defaults).
Whether it’s our new approval process, loan terms, interest rates, car dealer agreements, or collections process, we are constantly striving toward improvement and greater mission alignment to help borrowers in an industry rife with predatory practices.
To complement our auto lending, Beneficial State Foundation administers the Clean Vehicle Assistance Program in partnership with Beneficial State Bank. Launched in May 2018, the Clean Vehicle Assistance Program provides grants to help income-qualified Californians purchase a new or used clean vehicle. As of December 2020, the Clean Vehicle Assistance Program has awarded $17 million in grant dollars and given over 3,571 grants.
Featured Research & Innovations
Financial Programs & Products
Clean Vehicle Assistance Program
The CVA Program provides grants and fair loans directly to income-qualified Californians to make clean vehicles accessible and affordable.
Financial Programs & Products
Second Look Auto Program
This auto program was created to provide access to credit for people with limited or no credit experience.
Economic, Business, Job Development
Accion Opportunity Fund
Accion Opportunity Fund drives economic mobility by delivering affordable capital and responsible financial solutions to determined entrepreneurs and communities.