Nov 13, 2018 | Share Your Beautiful

Accion Opportunity Fund - Client Profile

The Funder Supporting Workers and Entrepreneurs, a Beneficial State Banking Hero

Accion Opportunity Fund works to ensure that anyone who is working hard has the ability to reach their full potential and earn a decent living and have the opportunity to get ahead.

When is the last time you really thought about how the goods you purchase get to the stores and places you buy them from? Self-employed truck drivers, especially those that drive long distances, have vital but incredibly tough and often underpaid jobs. Drivers regularly log cross-country miles, spend a night or two at home, then repeat the long travel cycle.

Drivers often face challenges in purchasing their own trucks, facing strict requirements from banks to provide 20 to 40 percent down on a truck loan. That’s money drivers often don’t have.

“Self-employed truckers are some of the hardest working but lowest paid workers in the United States. We fundamentally haven’t developed financial services that will benefit low-income communities,” says Caitlin McShane with Accion Opportunity Fund.

Financing the Future

Accion Opportunity Fund’s mission is to drive economic mobility by delivering affordable capital and responsible financial solutions to determined entrepreneurs and communities. The organization believes small amounts of money and financial advice can help people make permanent and lasting changes in their own lives. Accion Opportunity Fund is tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by.

“We’re working with disadvantaged entrepreneurs who don’t have time in business or the collateral or the credit score to get a loan from a bank. We’ve developed the methodology to lend to them so that it’s successful both for them as the borrower and us as the lender,” says Eric Weaver, founder and senior adviser of Accion Opportunity Fund.

In FY2018 alone, Accion Opportunity Fund invested more than $92M in the dreams of nearly 3,000 entrepreneurs in California and beyond.

Partnerships for Success

Self-employed truckers are just one of the groups that often get denied loans from banks, but that Accion Opportunity Fund finances. Accion Opportunity Fund says a key to its success is to establish relationships with partners like Beneficial State Bank. A loan from Beneficial State Bank has enabled Accion Opportunity Fund to lend to self-employed truckers, who are then able to purchase a truck and make a better living for themselves.

“We need organizations like Beneficial State Bank and Accion Opportunity Fund that move money from wealthy communities into less wealthy communities in smart ways that really create opportunity for people,” Weaver says.