Monday, June 22, 2009

Kiva.org Lends in America: How Do They Do It?

I was heartened to see Kiva.org’s new domestic program. The loans are slightly larger than most of their overseas lending opportunities, but still relatively small for traditional business lending. However, I couldn't help but wonder how they're able to do this when so many other P2P platforms have failed to lend domestically due to heavy SEC regulation.

What I’ve learned is that Kiva loans don’t pay interest to lenders, and aren’t securities, so as such, they don’t fall under the SEC umbrella. Additionally, as a micro lender, Kiva is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, the government with oversight authority is the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

This means that interest-bearing Kiva accounts are still likely to be a long way off (if ever), but that the program should be sticking around for a while for borrowers, which is great news for micro lending enthusiasts.

The initial domestic roll-out happened in early June and included 45 American entrepreneurs seeking loans from $1,025 to $10,000.

Kiva’s field partners are Accion USA and OpportunityFund.org.

According to an online article in OnPhilanthropy.com, Kiva has provided $76 Million in loans to help small businesses worldwide

Jessica Ward is a freelance writer based in the Seattle area. She writes on peer to peer finance, family and more. Her freelance portfolio is available online at www.jessicaward.me.

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