Access to capital is critical for economic mobility. Immigrants and low-income communities face structural disadvantages in obtaining capital, condemning them to cycles of generational poverty. As part of an economic development initiative called City Alive, the city of Albuquerque created Co-op Capital, a microloan program that democratizes how, where, and by whom opportunity and wealth can be accessed.
Co-op Capital removes traditional barriers to capital access by creating customized lending programs through community organizations, institutions, and cooperatives. The program leverages the strong relationships that member-based, cooperative and nonprofit organizations have with their constituencies to make loan determinations based on character, trust, and mission-based community values rather than standard measures of creditworthiness.