In our previous blog, we explored the funding opportunities that non-profit lenders can provide to small businesses in need of loans. Today’s blog keeps the spotlight on non-profit lenders, looking at the Jewish Free Loan Association (JFLA). At a time when many small business owners are facing mounting frustrations of applying for multiple funding programs available, only to then be placed on waiting lists, JFLA is stepping in to provide an alternative option for funding.
Who is JFLA
Founded in 1904, JFLA has a long history of providing assistance to residents of the greater Los Angeles Area during some of the area’s most challenging times. During WWII, JFLA assisted thousands of families in rebuilding their lives in LA. In 1965, JFLA was there to help businesses rebuild in the wake of the Watts Riots. And in 1994, JFLA stepped in to provide financial aid to those impacted by the Northridge Quake.
JFLA continues their tradition of being a source of support in challenging times as they offer small business loans to those experiencing the financial fallout from COVID-19. And while the organization offers these loans, amongst others, on a regular basis, their ability to maintain the program and keep support flowing during these trying times has proven to be a lifeline for small business owners in need. JFLA operates as a 501(c)(3) non-profit, whose funding programs are made available courtesy of the donations they receive.
What Type of Funding Is Available?
JFLA is currently accepting small business loan applications where borrowers can receive up to $18,000. Loan eligibility is based on the following:
Applicants must be permanent residents of Los Angeles County or Ventura County. Applicants will be asked to show proof demonstrating residence for at least (6) months.
Applicants will need to demonstrate a need for the loan and the ability to repay it.
Applicants must be 18 years or older, a U.S. resident with a social security number, and state-issued California ID.
In addition to having a credit score of 680 or better, applicants must also be prepared to provide (2) guarantors for the loan. These guarantors can be friends, family, fellow colleagues, etc. Requirements include guarantors must be 25 years of age or older, have good credit, and a steady source of income.
With the exception of non-profit organizations, this funding opportunity is open to all small businesses. It is also important to note that you do not have to practice the Jewish faith to be eligible for a loan. JFLA’s main focus is providing help to those in need regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.
How Does JFLA Differ from Other Non-Profit Lenders?
JFLA is the only lending organization in the greater Los Angeles area to offer interest free loans. Borrowers simply pay back what they borrow, free of the interest and additional fees that typically accompany small business loans. Additionally, JFLA does not require collateral from borrowers but rather guarantors. Having a 99.5% repayment rate from borrowers, JFLA credits this to their focus on the relationships built with their borrowers. They choose to practice this standard, electing to opt for guarantors to back the loan rather than requiring collateral from borrowers who may not be able to provide that. Also absent from JFLA is a minimum loan amount.
What Can Borrowers Expect Throughout the Process?
Applicants will need to fill out an online pre-loan application. Once this has been completed and submitted, a JFLA team member will reach out to the applicant to schedule a brief virtual interview. During this interview, the JFLA team member will walk the applicant through the remainder of the loan process along with reviewing any additional paperwork needed.
Once all required paperwork, including the assignment of the guarantors has been completed, the applicant will submit said paperwork to JFLA by uploading the documents to a secured site or via email. While the review and decision process typically takes 7-10 business days, COVID-19 has increased the time frame of up to two weeks in some cases.
Once an applicant has been approved, JFLA will notify the applicant and the applicant can expect to see funding within 48 hours. Loan repayment begins 30 – 45 days after loan approval, with borrowers given the option to repay via check, money order, or auto deduction from a checking account.
The absence of interest fees, the ability to continue accepting loan requests, and offering funding despite the demand being so high, makes JFLA an option that small businesses in the LA and Ventura County area may want to explore. For more information on JFLA, visit their website at www.jfla.org.