The following is a letter from the Treasurer of San Francisco, announcing the RFP for the Lending Circles Capacity Project:

Dear Community Partners,

The San Francisco Treasurer’s Office of Financial Empowerment and the Mission Asset Fund are pleased to announce a Request for Proposals for the”Lending Circles Capacity Project.”

With generous support from the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI), Citi, and the Levi Strauss Foundation, MAF and OFE will partner with up to five different community-based organizations in San Francisco to replicate lending circles and provide participating clients a direct path into the financial mainstream. Organizations selected to participate in the pilot will receive:

  • Up to $20,000 to cover costs associated with replicating the program.
  • Access to MAF’s proprietary Peer Loan Management (PLM) system, an online application to manage all aspects of lending circles.
  • Training, program materials, and technical support throughout the replication process

We will be hosting two informational conference calls on March 28th at 2pm and April 11 at 2pm. To register for the informational call and receive full details on the RFP, including the online application, please visit: The deadline for submissions is May 2nd at 5pm.

For more information about the replication project, please contact Daniela Salas, Associate Director, MAF, at: For more information about the RFP process, please contact Leigh Phillips, Manager of the San Francisco Office of Financial Empowerment, at:

I believe that the replication of this successful model is an important way to bring financial stability to our community. I encourage you to consider applying to participate in this exciting opportunity.


José Cisneros



The Cestas Populares lending circle model created by the Mission Asset Fund has achieved great success in helping low-income adults build credit histories, learn to use loans wisely, and increase their overall financial capability. Cestas Populares “formalizes” the lending activity that takes place in peer lending circles, and reports these transactions to major credit agencies. As payments are recorded, participants begin establishing or building their credit record. The program  has helped 295 participants access low-cost loans and build credit histories, with an average credit score increase of 49 points in just 6-9 months. The typical participant decreased their debt balance by $1,208 and opened an average of four new tradelines. These results indicate the enormous potential of lending circles to help people obtain traditional bank loans and reduce reliance on predatory lending establishments.

You can find more information about this project on the MAF website at

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