Sacramento, Calif. (September 1, 2022) – Today, the Economic Justice Fund (EJF) launched its Lifeline Pandemic Recovery Initiative to provide loans to low-income borrowers who are struggling to recover from the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and lack access to fair and affordable financing.
The economic impact of the pandemic has been severe in California, especially for low-income people. In a 2020 survey by the Public Policy Institute of California, 77% of low-income families reported that they would struggle to pay a $1,000 emergency expense. Unfortunately, California’s problems persist. A recent survey by the California Budget and Policy Center found that more than 50% of California households with incomes below $50,000 were still struggling to pay for basic expenses such as food, housing, and health care in March and April 2022.
EJF’s Lifeline Pandemic Recovery Initiative will provide loans to low-income borrowers who have an urgent need for capital but cannot access financing from traditional lenders. Specifically, it will target borrowers who are facing a financial emergency or need to escape from a predatory loan obtained during the pandemic.
The Lifeline loans will range from $500 to $5,000 and offer fair and affordable terms to meet the needs of a wide range of borrowers:
- Low, fixed-interest rates
- Fee-free financing—no application fees, no origination fees, no servicing fees, and no prepayment fees
- Flexible terms ranging from 12 to 60 months
- Complimentary ACH disbursements that enable next-day available funds
- Automatic recurring monthly loan payments
Lifeline loans also will feature flexible underwriting that allows EJF to approve borrowers that traditional lenders do not. All borrowers will also receive free credit reporting services, which will help build their credit histories and qualify for additional financing from EJF or traditional lenders after they have paid their Lifeline loans in full. Our goal is not just to make loans but also to help borrowers rebuild a strong financial foundation for their lives.
The following are examples of some of the high-impact loans that EJF has made during the pandemic. All of these loans have supported low-income borrowers who could not obtain financing from other sources.
- An emergency loan to a service-disabled veteran who had been a victim of identity theft. Our financing supported the veteran after he had been denied financing by multiple lenders due to incorrect information on his credit report.
- An emergency personal loan to a very low-income senior citizen who had just recovered from COVID-19 and had been discharged from the hospital. Our loan enabled her to catch up on the mortgage payments for her manufactured home after she had missed some payments and the lender had refused to offer any payment relief.
- An emergency loan to a very low-income, single mother who works two jobs but faced the prospect of being unable to continue working when her car broke down and needed major repairs. With our financing, she was able to fix her car and keep both jobs.
- A debt consolidation loan for a low-income senior citizen who was a victim of predatory lenders. Our loan allowed her to pay off the balances on four credit cards with exorbitant interest rates and to replace them with a single affordable, fixed-rate loan.
- A medical loan to enable a senior citizen living on Social Security in a rural community to pay the medical deductible for her husband’s heart surgery.
- An emergency loan for an immigrant borrower whose brother was hospitalized with COVID-19. Our financing enabled the borrower to pay the living expenses for his brother’s family when no other income was available.
About the Economic Justice Fund
The Economic Justice Fund is a mission-driven, nonprofit financial institution dedicated to providing fair, affordable financing and free credit building services to empower borrowers to realize their dreams. Our loans have low fixed rates, no application fees, no origination fees, no servicing fees and no prepayment fees. We also offer flexible terms and flexible underwriting to meet the needs of a wide range of borrowers. For more information, visit www.economicjusticefund.org.