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Hamilton Microfinance Shares the Gift of Opportunity


Lisa Yang '17, right, with Hamilton Microfinance loan recipient Lourdes Alvarez and her husband.
Lisa Yang '17, right, with Hamilton Microfinance loan recipient Lourdes Alvarez and her husband.

While most students were studying for exams as the semester came to a close, members of Hamilton Microfinance (HMF) were finalizing their third loan. Building off the momentum from October’s Great Pumpkin Challenge Fundraiser – which raised more than $1000 toward providing small business loans to local entrepreneurs – Hamilton’s micro-lenders identified several potential loan applicants, moving one step closer to achieving their strategic goal of issuing a loan by the end of the semester.

Students first met their newest successful loan applicant, Lourdes Alvarez, during an October information session hosted by Lisa Yang ’17 and Arthur Williams ’16, president and vice president of HMF. Over the course of a few weeks, leaders of HMF met individually with Mrs. Alvarez and her husband to create an entrepreneur profile and to work on a business plan for a thrift shop in Utica.

In December, Yang met with Tom Owens, president and CEO of ACCESS Federal Credit Union, and Mrs. Alvarez to initiate a loan application. Within a week, Mr. Owens came to Hamilton to evaluate the loan application with students.

For many HMF members, reviewing the applicant’s financial statements and credit application is the most exciting and educational phase of the loan process. After Mr. Owens explained the loan underwriting process using the applicant as an example, members of HMF ultimately decided to give a loan to Mrs. Alvarez.

HMF would like to thank ACCESS Federal Credit Union and Mr. Owens for their support and facilitation of student efforts to increase economic growth and opportunity in the Greater Utica area. Through the use of loans rather than grants, HMF hopes to help entrepreneurs establish their own credit histories and borrowing power. To learn more, please contact micro@hamilton.edu.

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