Seven students from Hamilton’s Microfinance organization attended Lend for America’s 7th Annual Summit at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 7 and 8.
Through hands-on training workshops, panel discussions and scheduled networking opportunities, students learned best practices for building effective campus microfinance organizations and activating impact within their local communities and future careers.
Hamilton attendees were Arthur Williams ’16, Enjay Ofoleta ’16, Flavia Oliveira’16, Sarah Magee’18, Elizabeth Tran’18, Joey Rokous’18 and Ifeoluwa Aiyelabowo’19.
Some of the featured workshops were “The Nuts & Bolts of Microlending,” “Impact Investing in Financial Inclusion” and “The Many Avenues of Fundraising.” The summit also included speakers from notable microfinance organizations such as Kiva, ACCION and Grameen America.
Hamilton Microfinance’s major takeaways were learning how to better understand their loan candidates and designing a loan application process which best serves them.
Out of the many campus organizations represented, Hamilton was one of the only that focused on serving refugee populations and the Hamilton students were interested to learn about specific ways they could assist this population in navigating the American banking system.
The summit reinforced for Hamilton Microfinance members that they must not only provide financial assistance, but also financial education to their clients and help them to improve their credit scores. As a part of the organization’s current loan process, they help clients think about their business plan, open a savings account, and complete a loan application to better integrate them into the American banking system. However, the group’s next step is to implement what they learned at the summit to improve their operations and provide additional tools for clients to achieve personal and business financial success.