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Grameen America business loans review

Microloans for low-income women starting or growing a business.

Garameen America offers business loans specifically designed to help low-income women who want to start or grow a business find funding. But you can’t apply online — you have to visit a branch to fill out an application in person. And its branches are limited to 15 cities.

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Details

Min. Amount$2,000
Max. Amount$15,000
APR15% to 18%
RequirementsEntrepreneur or business owner, live below the poverty line, live near a branch

First, do I qualify?

To qualify for a Grameen America business loan, you must meet the following criteria at a minimum:

  • Entrepreneur or business owner
  • Live below the poverty line
  • Live near a branch

While you don’t need to be a woman to qualify, this nonprofit lender specializes in funding that demographic.

Where does Grameen America have branches?

Grameen America has branches in the following cities:

  • Fresno, CA
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Oakland, CA
  • San Jose, CA
  • Miami, FL
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Boston, MA
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Omaha, NE
  • Newark, NJ
  • Union City, NJ
  • New York, NY
  • San Juan, PR
  • Austin, TX
  • Houston, TX

What makes Grameen America business loans unique?

Grameen America is one of the few nonprofit lenders that specializes in small loans for low-income women who want to start or expand their business. It looks at criteria other than your credit score and income to determine your eligibility, rates and terms. While rates might be higher than your typical business loan, they may be lower than the few other funding options available.

Pros

  • Startups can qualify
  • Funding designed for low-income women
  • Loans as low as $2,000 available
  • No fees

Cons

  • No online loans
  • Only available in 15 cities
  • High rates compared to standard business loans
  • Limited information about loans online
  • Only way to get in touch is email

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How do I apply?

You need to visit a branch to get started on your application. You might want to send an email to info@grameenamerica.org introducing yourself and asking what documents you should bring along.

How long it takes to apply and get your funds depends on the branch and your specific situation.

What documents do I need to apply?

Grameen America doesn’t advertise a list of specific documents that it requires — it likely varies depending on where you live and your business. You might need to provide bank statements, tax returns, financial statements or a business plan.

How do repayments work?

It depends on the terms of your loan contract. You can discuss your repayment options with the Grameen representative before you sign your loan documents. Typically, these types of loans come with monthly repayments, which you can sign up to have withdrawn from your business bank account.

You can compare more funding options with our guide to business loans.

Review by


Anna Serio is a trusted lending expert and certified Commercial Loan Officer who's published more than 1,000 articles on Finder to help Americans strengthen their financial literacy. A former editor of a newspaper in Beirut, Anna writes about personal, student, business and car loans. Today, digital publications like Business Insider, CNBC and the Simple Dollar feature her professional commentary, and she earned an Expert Contributor in Finance badge from review site Best Company in 2020.

Expert review

Grameen America’s microloans could be a good option for low-income women who are starting a business — it can be particularly hard to qualify for financing to start a company if you live below the poverty line.

But you have to visit a branch to apply in person — and it only operates in 15 cities.

Don’t live near a branch? Compare your other business loan options below.

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