Kiva unveils domestic no-interest lending program for Portland businesses

Stasi Baranoff said the Kiva Zip program will provide no-interest loans domestically.

Stasi Baranoff said the Kiva Zip program will provide no-interest loans domestically.

The Kiva nonprofit that backs small entrepreneurs in developing countries is piloting a new business lending platform for potential Oregon borrowers.

The Kiva Zip program will offer local borrowers no-interest loans, as opposed to Kiva’s typical microloans in which partners charge interest to cover operating costs. Borrowers in Oregon can receive up to $50,000 that must be repaid within 72 months.

The Oregon program was announced in conjunction with the Elevating Impact summit, put on by Portland State University’s Impact Entrepreneurs program.

Kiva’s Stasi Baranoff told PSU’s social impact team that the no-interest loans carry a bit more risk than the other Kiva loans, on which the repayment rate is 99 percent.

The program is set to launch in Portland on June 27. Kiva plans to roll out the offering in Newark, N.J. and Richmond, Va. later this summer.

Kiva aims to alleviate poverty by encouraging small entrepreneurial pursuits. It has enlisted 46,584 lenders who have issued $444 million in loans.

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