Lending a hand: Wells Fargo awards $1.6M to Community Loan Center

BROWNSVILLE — The Rio Grande Valley Multibank Corporation’s efforts to give more people an alternative to payday and auto-title loans have been rewarded with a $1.6 million NEXT Award for Opportunity Finance from Wells Fargo.

RGVMB was recognized for its innovative strategy to expand the Community Loan Center Small-Dollar Loan Program throughout Texas and to other states by working with lenders and partners pursuing the same mission.

Predatory lending in the form of auto-title and payday loans entails repayment terms and excessively high interest rates that often trap borrowers in a cycle of debt that can be nearly impossible to escape.

RGVMB, a Community Development Financial Institution certified by the Treasury Department, was founded in 1995 to provide financial products and development services throughout the Valley, especially in the areas of affordable housing and consumer lending. All earnings are reinvested into the program to expand services and create more lending capital.

RGVMB established the Community Loan Center in 2011 to offer low-interest, low-fee personal loans. CLC has made $7.5 million in loans to Valley borrowers since then. So far, more than 100 employers in Texas and Indiana — including municipal governments, local agencies, school districts and businesses — have partnered with CLC to make the loans available to their employees.

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