Accion USA has earned a reputation as a leading provider of microloans to low- and moderate-income entrepreneurs.
One of the things that sets Accion USA apart from other microlenders is they are an independent, domestic affiliate of an international microfinance organization. While many other microlenders (including Accion International) focus their efforts overseas, Accion USA is committed to lending to domestic business owners who aren't able to obtain bank credit for their companies.
Accion's vital statistics support their position as a frontrunner in microfinance. Since their inception in 1991, Accion has loaned more than $119 million to over 18,000 entrepreneurs. Their average loan size is currently $5,100 and their loss rate is 7%. The vast majority of Accion USA borrowers have a successful borrowing experience and repay their loans in a timely manner.
Accion loan terms parallel the lending terms at other micro-finance organizations. Although most loan amounts are smaller, Accion will make up to $50,000 loans to profitable businesses. Startup loans to businesses that have not yet been able to demonstrate a profit are limited to $30,000. Repayment terms are typical (up to 60 months), and interest rates vary from 9% to 16%.
Micro lenders like Accion make it easier for small business owners to get financing. But that doesn't mean their lending criteria is lax. Borrowers are required to have a credit score of 575 or better, no bankruptcies for the past 12 months, no late mortgage payments for the past 24 months, and they must be current on their bills. Borrowers are also expected to demonstrate enough cash flow to make monthly payments. If necessary, you may even need to produce a cosigner.
Special Rules for Startups
Accion USA is aware of the fact that startups and business transitions require special handling. In addition to their normal lending requirements, Accion applies some special lending requirements to startups. Every business Accion finances is required to demonstrate 6+ months of revenue. If your business is less than six months old, Accion will not provide microloan financing. Startups are also required to have a cosigner, a market study, and 12 months of projected financials (or a solid business plan). If your company has not yet been able to generate a profit, you will be required to demonstrate enough external income to cover monthly loan payments.