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Small Business Lending & Independent Workers Resource Guide

Small businesses are central to the U.S. economy and society, yet the lives of small business owners and independent workers are far from easy. Your financial institution can begin supporting entrepreneurs in your community today. Fill out the form below to download our free research-based small business lending and independent worker resource guide today.

Small Business Lending & Independent Workers Resource Guide Details

Most small businesses have below-average incomes, lack access to many of the tools that businesses need to thrive, and struggle to acquire needed financing – relying instead on personal finances and informal networks of friends and family. The importance of small businesses and the myriad challenges they face would seem to make them a natural fit for credit unions, community banks, and other community-oriented financial services providers.

Filene, working in collaboration with Visa, believes that providing affordable and responsible funding, services, and support, especially to those who struggle to find them provides credit unions and other community- oriented financial institutions with unparalleled opportunities—to improve financial lives of consumers and the well-being of communities while also meeting organizational growth and impact objectives. Moreover, community-oriented financial institutions may be best positioned to see the full picture of small business ownership—recognizing that the impact of small business success or failure reaches far beyond the business itself.

What does this mean for my financial institution?

There has been steady growth in overall business lending by credit unions. Over the past three decades, the percentage of credit unions offering business loans over $50,000 and the amount of those loans has grown. Nonetheless, it is clear that there is an opportunity for credit unions and other community-oriented financial institutions.

  • There remains unmet demand for small business lending, as year-over-year results from the Small Business Credit Survey shows that 40% or more of small businesses are submitting new loan applications.
  • Indications show that small businesses are open to considering credit unions and community banks.
  • One critical opening may be in giving small business owners more control through a range of wraparound services that accompany core banking products.

Fill out the form to download our free guide.

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During the past two years, Filene tested five products designed to meet the needs of minority households. In this report we share our results on the efficacy of these products and their potential for long-term sustainability.

ITIN Lending Program

Improve access to affordable and quality financial services and grow your loan portfolio by offering loans to serve consumers who... Small Business Lending & Independent Workers Resource GuideDO-IT-YOURSELF Small Business Lending & Independent Workers Resource Guide Small businesses are central to the U.S. economy and society, yet the lives of...

Meeting the Needs of Independent Workers at Vancity Credit Union


Independent workers represent a growing demographic with unique financial needs, specifically income instability and lack of traditional employment benefits. This case study explores how to best serve them: first, by learning about the nature and needs of independent workers, then, by prototyping and piloting small, holistic interventions to identify what works.