Personal Lending

Determining Your Eligibility

We know that to be a good neighbor, you need to feel secure in your home and financial future. That’s why we want to know your story, not just read numbers on paper. That’s what the 5th C is all about. 

We believe that people deserve the chance to build the life they want, so we determine loan eligibility a bit differently. Banks look carefully at borrowers before they lend money, and often refer to the “4 C’s” which stand for Credit, Character, Capacity, and Collateral. These are the primary indicators most lenders use to evaluate risk. And while the 4 C’s are important, Neighborhood Progress Fund believes there’s usually more to the story. For us, it’s all about Community Impact. We call this the “5th C” and it carries a lot of weight when we consider someone for a loan.

As an impact lending organization, flexibility is one of our top priorities. In addition to the standard “4 C’s” used to determine eligibility for a personal loan, we rely heavily on the “5th C”—Community Impact. We know that when an individual thrives, the community around them thrives, too. That’s why we created our Housing Help, Debt Payoff and Credit Cure loans. When you feel safe and secure in your home, your neighborhood benefits. When you have more purchasing power, businesses in your community benefit, too.

Our mission drives our decision-making process, and we often move forward with financing even if you are lacking in some of the following areas:

Credit Report

Our Credit Cure loans don’t require a credit report, but we do use credit reports as a component of our analysis for Housing Help and Debt Payoff  loans. The credit report is used to evaluate how you have handled debt in the past.


In our experience, character is the foundation of a successful loan. Employment and residential stability tell us a lot about your responsibility for the use and repayment of borrowed funds. We also like to see that you’ve taken financial education classes.

Capacity to Repay

To evaluate your ability to repay the loan, we look at your bank statements and sources of income. We also look to see an OK debt-to-income ratio. To calculate your debt-to-income ratio, add up all your monthly debt payments (e.g. rent, mortgage, credit cards, car payments) and divide that total by the amount you earn before taxes each month. Let’s say your monthly debt payments  total $1,800 each month, and your pretax income is $3,000. Your debt-to-income ratio is 60%, which is the minimal percentage we like to see. Most lenders prefer to see a debt-to-income ratio of 45% or lower.  Have any questions about what this means? Feel free to call us and we’ll talk you through it.


Collateral is the cash and assets you pledge to secure the loan. The amount and quality of the collateral will give us the additional comfort to move forward with the loan. Not only do collateral assets generate cash flow to pay our debt service but they also provide a source of repayment if the loan does not perform. For our Housing Help and Debt Payoff  loans, we require a loan holdback of 20%.  For our Credit Cure loan we require a loan holdback of 100%.  These holdbacks will serve as collateral for the loans.

Community Impact

We added personal loan packages to our suite of products because we believe that each individual plays a vital part in the health of a community. You are more than a number or a form. You are a person whose contribution to the community means a lot—we see that and promise to treat you with respect and compassion through the entire application and loan process.  

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