LiftFund’s began in San Antonio, Texas in 1994 in conjunction with the micro-lending organization Acción International that offers micro-loans in Latin America. LiftFund incorporates the same mission and ideas in the U.S that Accion uses in Latin America. After over 20 years of business in the U.S., LiftFund has provided over 17,000 loans, and more than $210 million in loan money. LiftFund is a non-profit organization that helps small businesses who have a hard time accessing funding.
While LiftFund originally began in Texas and served only Texas, today LiftFund serves 13 states in the southeast region of the United States. These states include: New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida. Benefits include:
LiftFund was built as a micro-lender in Texas originally and works directly with Texas’s SBA 504 program. This program allows businesses to also apply for loans as large as $5.5 million to finance their commercial real estate and equipment needs. This large amount of money available to businesses in Texas is something that not all loan providers can offer, and should be considered as a major benefit offered by LiftFund.
Residents Outside of Texas
For borrowers outside of Texas, the maximum amount for loans is $250,000. When it comes to independent lenders, this amount is higher than many other providers can offer. This loan amount gives businesses the opportunity to get established or to expand their business.
All applications can be completed online, and even companies without good credit scores will be considered. While LiftFund mentions that the average credit score they approve is 575, they say that they will not make their decisions based on credit score. All credit scores will be considered, and provided that the rest of the business’s qualifications warrant trust, even those with bad credit scores can be approved for a loan.
LiftFund’s website offers many success stories and testimonials of current and past borrowers who found what they were looking for from LiftFund. These success stories are divided by state and/or city, and they give good indication of the types of businesses who have borrowed from LiftFund. Reading these success stories gives a prospective borrower the opportunity to familiarize themselves with LiftFund’s business practices.
LiftFund also positions themselves as a thought-leader in the entrepreneurial industry. They offer online resources such as templates for business plans, financial templates, as well as instructional videos and a blog. In addition to these online resources, LiftFund offers events and seminars to help educate and boost the entrepreneurial community. There is also a specific webpage dedicated to what LiftFund calls the Women’s Business Center. This resources gives women specific events geared toward their unique struggles in entrepreneurship as well as the opportunity to consult with LiftFund about their business plans.
To summarize the benefits of borrowing from LiftFund, please see the following list:
- For Texans, maximum loans of up to $5.5 million with the SBA 504 Program
- For other states, maximum loans of up to $250,000
- Good credit not required
- Case studies and other testimonials online
- Excellent instructional resources online
- Women’s Business Center resources
Unfortunately, LiftFund’s website does not offer enough information to fully evaluate the good and the bad. We will however, try to provide you with the information that we were able to find, and hopefully give you a good indication if you would like to contact them for further evaluation or to apply for a loan.
There are many things we wish the LiftFund website would have included. Here is a list of the items that are not included on the LiftFund website that any prospective buyer should make sure they find out:
- Interest rates
- Qualifications for applying for a loan
- Prepayment penalties
- Fees such as:
- Closing or other fees
While LiftFund’s website is relatively bare in specific information, they do provide some information that compares negatively to some of the other independent lenders we have reviewed.
For starters, LiftFund’s turnaround time looks more like a big bank than an independent lender. Whereas other lenders are able to offer approval times of 1-3 days, LiftFund claims it will take around 3 weeks for them to approve a loan. This approval time is a drawback for LiftFund, and prospective borrowers should know that there are other lenders who will disburse the loan money more quickly.
LiftFund also only serves 13 states. These states are all located in the southeastern region of the United States and they include the following:
- New Mexico
- South Carolina
Borrowers outside of this states cannot consider LiftFund as an option.
Prospective borrowers must also be prepared to offer some sort of business or third-party collateral in order to accept the loan. The loans that LiftFund offers are all secured loans and require some collateral by the borrower.
*Star Rating is determined by evaluating APR range, minimum credit score requirement, revenue requirement, length in business requirement, and other related approval data.
While we are sure that LiftFund is a very successful micro-lender to a number of companies (their stats seem to suggest so), their website offers very little specific information, and thus our review is somewhat bare.
Types of Loans Offered
- Microfinance Loans – Borrow $500 to $1 Million
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