Banking Freedom

Loan Alternatives Emerging Worldwide

Borrowing from a bank has traditionally been a slow, bureaucratic process, often off-limits to people outside the wage-and-salary mainstream, whether they’re starting a business or getting back on their feet. Over the centuries, groups of people have organized various styles of societal credit arrangements to address these shortcomings. Today’s credit union, a co-operative, community-based banking model, still thrives.

In the past 30 years, the rise of microcredit has been providing small loans to people around the world that have no access to traditional banks or could not meet banking industry requirements. More recently, the combination of microfinance and online social networking has resulted in a new phenomenon: peer-to- peer lending, or social lending.

Today, more than a dozen websites connect borrowers and lenders without using banks as middlemen. The economic advantage of such peer-to-peer lending extends to attractive interest rates for borrowers; often half that of Visa or MasterCard. has surpassed $1 billion in such loans.

“Interest rates turn a charitable relationship into a business relationship,” notes Matt Flannery, who founded the online micro-lender in 2005. “That empowers the poor by making them business partners.” Kiva lenders don’t earn interest on their loans, but the underlying micro-lenders that administer the loans in their countries do.

Sources: Ode magazine,

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Dangers in the Cosmetic Bag

Made-in-USA cosmetics commonly include toxic ingredients banned in the European Union; a nifty phone app can help us know when to take a pass.

Sharing Our Bounty

Healthy eating matters to everyone, so it’s most helpful to donate high-protein, low-sodium, low-sugar nonperishables.

What’s Your Child’s EQ?

By listening closely to our children and validating their emotions, we can empower them to better handle tough situations, sometimes all on their own.

True Wealth

Trading in time and health for more money to buy more stuff turns out to be a poor equation for happiness.

Having Gratitude Yields More Happiness than Having Things

In two studies, students with high amounts of gratitude were happier and had more self-esteem than students focused on material goals.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags