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3 User Reviews
LAST UPDATED: March 6th, 2020
This Loan Is Good For...
  • Startups
  • Potentially low interests rates
  • Small loan amounts ($500 - $50k)
If your business needs more than $50k, check out Lending Club

Accion is a nonprofit micro-financing company that provides business loans and other services for small business owners who might otherwise have trouble getting traditional business loans. Accion International operates in 32 different countries located in North and South America, Africa, and Asia. It began in 1961 as a community development organization, building roads, schools, and community centers with volunteer labor in Venezuela and Brazil. Consumers that choose Accion should remember that they must have a credit score of 550 or higher.

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The Good

  • Specific Loan Options
  • Helps Those in Minority Communities
  • Loan Tips
  • Testimonials

Specific Loan Options

  • Women-Owned Business Loans
  • Startup Business Loans
  • Loans for Child Care or Daycare Businesses
  • Salon and Spa Loans
  • Restaurant and Food Industry Loans
  • Veteran-Owned Business Loans
  • Business Loans for People with Disabilities
  • Native American Business Loans
  • Green Business Loans
  • Food and Beverage Business Loans
  • Minority-Owned Business Loans

Helps Those in Minority Communities

As this list makes clear, Accion is particularly interested in helping minority and disenfranchised communities through economic development. Although they don't give loans to businesses with damaged credit, they do help if credit is not well-established. They do this by relying on other strengths or sources of financing in order to make the loan possible. There is a minimum credit score requirement, which for their standard loan types is 575, but this is lower than many traditional business loans.

Loan Tips

Also, if a business doesn't qualify for a loan, they provide expert advice to help that business improve their financial situation, so that they are more likely to qualify the next time around. The business can then reapply for a loan in three to six months. Consequently, it can be helpful for a business to go through the application process even if they don't get the loan because they learn valuable information that can help them grow and prosper.

Testimonials

The Accion website provides dozens of testimonials from actual small business owners who have benefited from their loan services. This adds a personal touch to the loan process, and it also gives some specific information about how Accion loans have helped small businesses. Putting a name and face to the people who have used Accion loan services might be encouraging to some who otherwise see the process as cold and clinical. Accion's small business loan services are available in all 50 states, as well as 32 countries across four continents. The online application process is very simple. Applicants fill out a few boxes, select their state on a map, and then submit their information. In two days, they will get a response letting them know if they qualify. There is also an option to receive email updates about the status of the loan application.

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The Bad

  • Small Loans Only
  • Difficult to Qualify
  • Strict Minimum Requirements

Small Loans Only

The loan amounts offered by Accion are fairly low compared to many other types of traditional business loans. The standard loan ranges from $500 to $50,000, and some loan types are even lower. For example, they have a start-up business loan that ranges from $1000 to $10,000. Consequently, Accion is simply not going to meet larger needs.

Difficult to Qualify

To that end, their minimum credit score requirements could be lower. Most of Accion's loan types require a minimum credit score of 575 or higher. Consequently, Accion is not an option for businesses that might have struggled in the past and damaged their credit. They also take into consideration all past due debt and any bankruptcies. In fact, their minimum requirements are fairly extensive, which is simply going to make their services inaccessible to many businesses that are struggling to survive in economically depressed areas.

Strict Minimum Requirements

For example, a business cannot be more than 30 days late on any bill, loan, credit card or any other type of payment, and total late payments must be less than $30,000. The business can't have had any foreclosures in the past 24 months, any bankruptcies in the past 12 months, and no late mortgage or rent payments in the past 12 months. Also, the business can't have any mortgage rate adjustments due during the duration of the loan. Start-up loans require an outside income source other than the business. There is a little more flexibility for loans that are under $2,500, though the exact nature of this flexibility is not clear. While all of these minimum requirements are understandable, they are going to make Accion's loan services inaccessible to many businesses in the areas where they are focused. Business owners operating in low income neighborhoods are likely to have struggles due to a lack of outside financial help. Unfortunately, Accion might be added to the list of services that they cannot get.

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The Bottom Line

Ultimately, Accion provides an alternative to traditional business loans, so it might fill in the gaps for smaller businesses seeking outside financial help to expand, purchase new equipment, or market their goods and services. Loan amounts are lower than what many traditional loan companies offer, so Accion is only suitable for smaller needs. Also, minimum requirements are still pretty extensive, despite the fact that Accion seeks to provide an alternative to struggling businesses. Interest rates are not impressive. In the end, for those small businesses that qualify, Accion provides a reasonable alternative to traditional business loans that might help small businesses with limited resources.

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Michelle Bryant-Smith Detroit, MI

I had the same experience as the other reviewers. I was told that I was approved for an amount, we went back and forth for weeks and then zero financing. We have a very good and well thought out business plan that is proven by similar businesses and all they seemed interested in was pushing their "business counseling" services which was a joke. The counselor never read my business plan, tried to establish a dialogue based on the wrong business and spent most of the conversation talking about his own business with no guidance about how it will help me. If you want to waste your time and efforts, this is the place!

1 year ago

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Jonathan Lavan San Diego, CA

We are starting a new business under our own model which we have invested 250k in. We needed a small loan of 50k to cover some cost over runs so we could get through the first couple months before we start turning a profit. We have a very well thought out business plan. Accion seemed very interested in loaning us money and several people with their organization spoke very highly about our business plan and how successful our business would likely be. They preach that they are all about community and helping the little guy. That frankly is hogwash. They are just like every other money lender. They want their cut (up front no less) and their percentage rate is higher then most. But that is not the worst off it. They hemmed and hawed for weeks and then finely decided at the zero hour not to loan us the money. Extremely unprofessional. Fortunately we had secured the funds elsewhere. I promise you this company is going to be big. We will be franchising within the year. Accion could have been a part of that. They could have helped the small business man and the community but all they are really interested in is what their risk is and whether they think they will get their money back. My advice: don't even bother. They treat their "clients" as numbers not as people.

2 years ago

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J Rapoza Newport, RI

I am writing this as a clear WARNING of how I was manipulated over the last 30 days and it’s direct impact on my personal and business life. As I am in bewildered awe, of not only how unprofessional it was handled, but the complete lack of contact, and by complete I mean absolutely none, with the exception of my calls to this organization, with the final exception of one returned call. One. I have been diligently working to structure my business and expand it in a fashion of profitability, a planning years in the works, instrumental for a number of factors, even more so as my daughter went off to University this past August. In mid December I was referred to Accion for a number of factors, including my low credit score as a result of identity theft. Secondly I believe perhaps, my race of Portuguese/Brazilian which is often called into question locally, although I did earned my bachelors degree in Economics and Marketing from studying both hear and abroad. After applying on December 29th, I contacted your organization the first week in January to follow up, explained my situation, and I was told that my application was being processed and approved, that as long as I had my information on identity theft, information on income from my company, for the past 6 months to 1 year, I was eligible and would have a positive result in a week, with an amount undetermined at that time. I had not received an email, or call, of receipt of my application, or of it’s pending result, or have I to this day. I called again the second and third week of January with no returned call. Finally, I called a main number I believe in DC, and was referred to a number in Boston, I had the opportunity to speak to a woman for about 5-10 minutes, and told I would receive a call back later that day or within a few hours. I did receive a message to call someone back and did so, I left a message on Friday January 26, 2018. I had the opportunity to speak to someone TODAY and was informed that my application was denied on Friday, after my conversation with someone last Friday, January 26th, after I was informed otherwise, on more then one occasion. After I confirmed I could go forward, with expanding and investing what little I had back into the business. I was told my application was denied THAT DAY, and an email was sent to me on Saturday the 27th. I never received any such email. Let me be direct in informing you of the impact of what the incompetence that Accion has had on my life now. As of Today, I have no choice but to consider giving up my residence and moving in with family temporarily. I have to start making serious immediate cut backs before the first. Therefore as a result of there incompetence I may be essentially homeless, at 51 years old with my daughter in college. Although I will recover, hopefully before she comes home for break. I should have never put out the funds I did, with the expectations of getting proceeds before the end of the month, to find out now I am completely denied. Just like that, oh well type of a response today on the phone. I was recently approved to sell my items on Amazon Prime. I very large if not huge expansion for my company. A process I have been working on for months. I must continue my focus on that, and other aspects of my business while, this major set back, has absolutely devastated my life. I hope going forward, your organization will take matters far more serious, as you hold peoples lives at stake, this is not just an application, or a phone call, or an email. It’s a life, a lively hood, a career path, a sense of stability, your organization put not only at risk, but jeopardized and directly devastated.

3 years ago

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