One Percent for America receives $170,000 in funding from CBA Fund to help improve credit for immigrants

January 25th, 2024

One Percent for America (OPA), a nonprofit reducing barriers to U.S. citizenship, announced today it has received $170,000 in funding from CBA Fund (CBAF), Credit Builders Alliance’s (CBA) CDFI Intermediary. OPA, an affiliate of national nonprofit community development financing organization BlueHub Capital, is advancing immigrant inclusion and opening new pathways to citizenship by offering loans at a 1% interest rate to cover the cost of citizenship application fees.

There are nearly 9 million immigrants eligible for citizenship, but only 9% apply. A national survey conducted by OPA revealed that application fees, ranging from $300 to $1,500, are among the top barriers to citizenship. While there is a fee-waiver program for low-income immigrants, only 1% of immigrants are eligible. OPA’s immigration fee assistance program is for the remaining 99% of future citizens.

Credit building has remained a key barrier for immigrants since many mainstream credit options and rates are unavailable to this population. Without a U.S.-based credit history, report or score, immigrants are “credit invisible” and unable to obtain an affordable loan or credit card. According to OPA’s unprecedented survey, 87% of respondents reported borrowing money in order to pay citizenship application fees, and two-thirds reported that they tapped high- interest financing like credit cards, payday lenders, and other sources of borrowed money to cover the costs. 

The funding from CBAF includes a $150,000 loan and $20,000 in capacity building grants that will support OPA in credentialing to report their loans to the three major consumer credit reporting agencies and gain access to soft credit pulls through CBA.  This will allow OPA borrowers the opportunity to build credit while repaying their loan.

“OPA is providing holistic citizenship support that lowers barriers for new Americans. Credit building is an essential part of financial health and wellness, and we are thrilled that CBA Fund and Credit Builders Alliance are investing in OPA to help us expand credit access for immigrants,” said Elyse Cherry, CEO of BlueHub Capital. “The funding will allow OPA to report its loans to credit bureaus and allow borrowers to build a positive credit history by making on-time payments and paying off an OPA loan. This will help set them up for financial success in the long-term.”

OPA's loan program has no credit score requirements, no late or hidden fees, and a flexible repayment schedule.  Financial education and dedicated community support are available to OPA borrowers. The application process is simple with same-day processing. With an average monthly payment of $61, immigrants can afford to initiate their citizenship application process for themselves and their entire family

“CBA Fund is excited to work with One Percent for America as part of our Immigrant Serving Lenders Cohort. The work they are doing clearly aligns with the work that CBA Fund and CBA were created to support,” said CEO Dara Duguay

OPA has put more than 900 immigrants closer to their citizenship goals, opening the door to greater financial opportunity.

About One Percent for America & BlueHub Capital

One Percent for America is a nonprofit organization reducing barriers to US citizenship, advancing immigrant inclusion, and advocating for immigrant equity and financial prosperity—successfully opening new pathways to citizenship that address rising citizenship application costs. One Percent for America is sponsored by BlueHub Capital, a national, mission-driven, nonprofit community development financing organization focused on building healthy communities where low-income people live and work. BlueHub Capital uses innovative financial tools and has deployed over $2.4 billion (and leveraged over $12 billion) in capital to support projects that make communities more vibrant places to live. BlueHub Capital has four distinct programs: BlueHub Loan Fund (community development financing), BlueHub SUN (foreclosure relief), BlueHub Energy (clean energy access) and One Percent for America (citizenship financing).

About Credit Builders Alliance & CBA Fund

Credit Builders Alliance serves as a unique and vital bridge between our nonprofit members and the major credit reporting agencies (CRAs). Through this support, CBA helps people who are outside the financial mainstream build credit to achieve their goals and enjoy financial security for themselves and their families. Our core services, CBA Reporter and CBA Access, provide nonprofits with both the ability and critical technical assistance to report loan data to the CRAs and to pull low-cost client credit reports for the purposes of financial education, outcome tracking and underwriting.

CBA Fund's mission is to expand the capacity of nonprofits to provide safe and affordable small dollar consumer loans (SDLs) and credit building products to low- and moderate-income individuals. CBA Fund seeks to disrupt systems of oppression by actively facilitating equitable lending and credit building in BIPOC communities in a way that does not perpetuate the status quo.