On Tuesday night, the City of Oakland approved the proposal that would make them the first U.S. city to become a Kiva Zip trustee!

Kiva Zip is a pilot program within Kiva that uses mobile and electronic payment technology to enable direct, zero-interest loans between lenders and borrowers -- helping us reach more types of borrowers than ever before!

In the Zip model, “trustees” have taken the place of field partners. Trustees endorse borrowers based on their character and business plans, recommending them as good candidates for Zip loans. While trustees never touch the money like a normal MFI would, Kiva Zip disburses the loans directly to the borrowers at a 0% interest rate.

Until now, trustees were either individuals or organizations. So how can a city fill this role?

This means the city of Oakland will select three small businesses to receive loans of up to $10,000. These loans will be posted on the Zip website (like any other Kiva loan) to be crowdfunded from lenders all over the world. And the loans will be recycled -- when one business repays their loan, the city can select another business to endorse.

Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker, said, “Small and ‘micro’ businesses play a major role in Oakland’s economy, many of them serving immigrants, refugees, and low-income residents. A few well-placed loans to burgeoning entrepreneurs can make a tremendous difference in our community.”

Mandela Foods, a worker-owned cooperative grocery store, is one Oakland business that has already benefitted from a Kiva loan.

We are thrilled to bring this opportunity to Oakland -- especially since it's so close to our home in San Francisco. Hopefully, this is just the start of many “city trustees” that will help us expand our reach, growing economic development and spurring job growth.

Click here to make a Kiva Zip loan!

Have questions about the Kiva Zip program? Send them our way at blog@kiva.org

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