(CNIMFG), a small business micro lending program. CNI was created to coordinate resources, economic development, and neighborhood revitalization efforts in Chicago’s low-to-moderate income neighborhoods. CNI’s primary activities focus on large-scale commercial real estate development, residential neighborhood preservation, and industrial development. CNI undertakes large-scale, high-impact real estate projects in underserved areas of the City and the surrounding region, in partnership with community stakeholders. The lack of retail development in Chicagoland’s hard-hit neighborhoods also leads to lack of accessible jobs, and inability to access affordable credit makes it difficult for low-to-moderate income borrowers to build wealth, open small businesses, and access mortgage products that would allow them to stay in the community as it revitalizes.
CNIMFG recognizes the need for lending to businesses in underserved low-to-moderate income Chicago neighborhoods and South Suburban cities and offers these resources through our microloan program as a complement to CNI’s wrap-around economic development strategies. CNIMFG provides opportunities for entrepreneurs to create jobs when jobs are few, particularly in neighborhoods that suffer from the highest unemployment rates. Financing from CNIMFG also allows small business owners to generate wealth for their families and their communities.Businesses financed by CNIMFG generally do not have access to conventional sources of financing either due to the size of their request, compromised credit criteria, lack of sufficient collateral to support the loan or because of the length of time in business. Our small business microloans range from $1,000 to $50,000, with flexible underwriting terms and low interest rates. CNIMFG also provides businesses with the ancillary financial services necessary to increase household income and improve credit histories. Now, in our sixth year of operations, CNIMFG has provided over 120 businesses with microloans totaling more than $2,200,000 in turn creating or maintaining 552 jobs. To date, 81% of these microloans have been deployed to African-American borrowers and 46% to female small business owners. 63% of the businesses financed have been existing businesses, while 37% are start-ups.
Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives Micro Finance Group works to empower communities through financial and educational resources.