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How to Build a Mission-Driven Lending Business

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There are lenders and then there are mission-driven lenders. And if you get excited thinking about the latter, there’s no reason why you can’t build a business around this. The key is to develop a pragmatic approach that allows you to grow in a very specific trajectory.

What is a Mission-Driven Lender?

Mission-driven lenders, also referred to as Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), are organizations that commit to working with communities and businesses that traditional financial institutions historically under-served. This includes small businesses, non-profits, and entrepreneurs in low-income communities that lack resources. A mission-driven lender can be a credit union, community bank, nonprofit organization, or even a venture capital fund. 

“They typically raise the money they lend through grants, low-interest loans, foundations, the government or banks looking to satisfy Community Reinvestment Act requirements,” Venturize explains. “CDFIs are very focused on community, targeting their funding to small businesses, microenterprises, nonprofit organizations, commercial real estate and affordable housing.”

Some mission-driven lenders even have their own revolving loan funds that are targeted toward very specific regions, states, or industries. They make low-interest loans to companies in these areas that would not otherwise qualify for bank loans. This type of lending is usually accompanied by mentoring and other support to increase their chances of being successful. 

CDFIs often participate in 7(a) loans through the Small Business Administration’s Community Advantage Program. This allows them to award loans up to $250,000. Others use venture capital funds that may or may not provide equity in return. 

4 Tips to Becoming a Mission-Driven Lender

Every mission-driven lender has its own specific focus. However, they’re all organically constructed with the purpose of bettering specific communities by making it easy for good ideas to flourish. If you’re interested in living out this goal as a mission-driven lender, here are a few specific things you need to do.

 

  • Make Sure You Know Your Why

 

While all mission-driven lenders have the same overarching purpose, the specific goals, vision, and mission of each lender will differ. It’s imperative that you get clear on the why behind what you’re doing.

Entrepreneur Michelle Sun asks, “Why do you want to build what you are building? What does success look like to you? Is it measured by impact, financial success or flexibility of your work hours? Every entrepreneur has a different ‘why.’ Get clear on these at the get-go, and refer back to them along your journey.”

Once you know your why, you can move on to other aspects – like surrounding yourself with other people who believe in your mission.

 

  • Build a Team of Like-Minded People

 

Diversity is good when building a team. You want people who think differently, come from different backgrounds, and bring unique strengths to the table. However, this is one business where you need like-minded people. When we use the term “like-minded,” we don’t mean everyone thinks exactly the same. Instead, we mean everyone is on the same page regarding the mission, goals, and desires. Everyone has a passion for seeing underserved communities and entrepreneurs elevated. That’s the goal.

 

  • Use the Right Tools

 

So much of modern lending is about technology and automation. And as a mission-driven lender, you need to make sure you’re using the right tools. In other words, you need tools that support and align with your mission. You might have to look a little harder to find these tools but, believe it or not, they exist.

SPARK loan origination software, for example, is designed to work with mission-driven lenders. Features include non-profit pricing and program support. They’re also the only loan origination technology company in the industry that operates as a Public Benefits Corporation.

 

  • Put Yourself Out There

 

You can build the best mission-driven lending practice in the industry, but if the community doesn’t know you, it’s a waste of time and money. Make sure you’re putting yourself out there. This includes grassroots marketing, advertising, and constant networking. Make your name known!

Get Started Today

Mission-driven lenders exist to close the financial chasm and fill in the opportunity gaps that exist in most communities. If you’re interested in making your community or industry a better place, being a mission-driven lender is a great place to start. And if you build your organization with a strong foundation, good things will happen for you!

The idea of Bigtime Daily landed this engineer cum journalist from a multi-national company to the digital avenue. Matthew brought life to this idea and rendered all that was necessary to create an interactive and attractive platform for the readers. Apart from managing the platform, he also contributes his expertise in business niche.

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Business

VPNRanks Report Uncovers User Discontent with Majority of VPN Services

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A groundbreaking report by VPNRanks reveals significant user dissatisfaction with the majority of VPN services, showing that 89% of VPNs globally fail to meet user satisfaction standards. This revelation comes at a critical time when digital security is paramount, and the demand for reliable VPN services continues to rise.

The Importance of User Satisfaction in the VPN industry

According to industry statistics from Global Market Insights, the global VPN market size was valued at USD 45 billion in 2022 and is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 20% from 2023 to 2032. Driven by the growing instances of cybercrimes and data thefts, coupled with the increasing proliferation of wireless devices and digital infrastructures across industries, user satisfaction remains a critical challenge for many providers. High user satisfaction is essential for customer retention, brand reputation, and long-term success in the competitive VPN market.

“User satisfaction is the cornerstone of success in the VPN industry. In a market flooded with options, it’s the real user experiences that set the leading providers apart. VPNScore helps users navigate this complex landscape by highlighting services that excel in meeting user expectations,” said Muhammad Saleem Ahrar, COO of webAffinity, the team behind VPNRanks.

VPNRanks is a leading VPN review platform that leverages sentiment analysis to provide comprehensive and unbiased reviews of VPN services. Its VPNScore is based on an AI-driven analysis of publicly available user reviews. The platform aims to simplify the process of identifying the best VPN provider tailored to each user’s unique needs.

VPNRanks Untangles Complex Findings on Key Features

VPNRanks evaluated four key features — ease of use, ease of setup, ability to meet user requirements, and quality of support — to identify the VPN companies that excel at customer satisfaction. To determine a final rank for each metric, VPNRanks combined a popularity score, which contributed 20 percent of the total, with a satisfaction score, which contributed 80 percent.

The study sifted through reviews on 93 paid VPN companies to determine the top providers. The VPNRanks report, issued in June 2024, provides rankings for each key feature and overall customer satisfaction. ExpressVPN achieved the top VPNScore — 6.29 out of 10 — for overall satisfaction globally. The next four top companies in that category, listed in descending order, are PureVPN, NordVPN, PrivateVPN, and Surfshark.

By assessing a variety of categories, the VPNRanks study reveals the challenges users face when trying to identify the best option to meet their needs. For example, NordVPN received a nearly perfect popularity score of 9.46 out of 10 but only a 4.7 satisfaction score. PrivateVPN received a satisfaction score of 6.69 out of 10, which rivaled ExpressVPN’s score in that category, but received a popularity score of only 1.23 out of 10.

The global rankings for ease of use illustrate how challenging identifying a quality provider can be. VeePN received a very high satisfaction score of 7.18 out of 10 while receiving a popularity score of less than 1 out of 10. The findings reveal a gap between user experience and market penetration that can effectively keep the best option hidden from the consumer.

The VPNRanks report gives users insight into satisfaction and popularity while providing a balanced assessment via its VPNScore. “Users should choose based on their priorities, whether it’s user satisfaction, market presence, or a balanced option,” the report states.

VPNRanks Shows Providers How to Become More Competitive

In addition to serving as a guide for consumers, VPNRanks also maps out a pathway for VPN providers seeking greater market share. The VPN providers that consistently appear in the top spots on the VPNRanks charts are those that have achieved a balance between popularity and user satisfaction. Those who neglect one or the other cannot keep pace with market leaders.

The report explains that those with high satisfaction scores but low popularity “might be well-loved by their users but need to increase their market visibility to compete more effectively.” Achieving overall success in the VPN market requires balancing user satisfaction with market presence, it advises.

Conclusion

As the need for VPN services continues to grow, businesses can expect to see more providers enter the market, making the task of identifying the best option more difficult. The insights VPNRanks provides stand as a timely beacon, guiding users to providers who can satisfy their needs and support their operations.

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