Borrower Stories

Read some of the inspiring true success stories from around the world. These heroes were able to conquer poverty and secure a better future for them and their children. All these instances show the power of how financial products can change the future.

Microloans

Ana-Maria from Columbia

Ana-Maria was a native born in the outskirts of Bogota Columbia. A mother to 5 children, she lived in a shack in a shanty-town village without so much as a kitchen table. Her children had only a few pairs of clothes and typically had to sleep in the dirt with old tattered blankets.

Ana was able to take out a series of $50 microloans, which she used to invest ingredients to make home-made tortillas and sell them on the street corner. They were such a success she took out additional loans, raised prices, and became a well-known seller of tortillas and other foods. She was able to buy mattresses and chairs for her children, who instantly had increased happiness and performed better in school.

A microfinance success indeed.

Amit Korukonda from India

Amit Korukonda was born in rural India near Mawlynnong. He was raised on a farm, where he worked instead of going to school. The entire Korukonda family depended on this farm. In India, many farms rely on monsoon rains in order to thrive. If there wasn’t a storm, the farm wasn’t able to produce yield, and the family would go hungry.

When his parents died at age 14, Amit had to take care of his 4 younger sisters. The land he inherited was not producing, so he got a job as a day-laborer at a neighboring field and could barely scrape by. At this field he learned how to farm different crops, and dreamed of one-day owning a farm of his own.

Eventually he learned of a microfinance organization that was lending in the area, and took out a loan of $80 – which seemed enormous at the time. He wasn’t sure if he could pay it back, but he saw the potential for a better future. He was able to rent a plot of land and purchase some tools, and eventually purchased crops. He repaid the loan, then took out another. This time, he started raising goats and buffalo to sell the milk. Eventually, he ended up owning 15 goats and 3 buffalo and had enough income to support his entire family. One of his daughters earned a scholarship to attend a prestigious university.

A testament to the power of microfinance.

SBA Loans

Adriana Cagan, Washington

Adriana Cagan had a degree in business administration, but that wasn’t what propelled her on her entrepreneurial journey. It was fitness.

At one point, she was tired of being out of shape and decided to start training to lose weight and live a healthier live. Before she knew it, she was competing at the highest level of fitness competitions.

She wanted to create an environment where she could help others do the same. But how? An SBA Microloan.

Cagan used a microloan from the Small Business Administration to open a fitness center where she could help others achieve the same fitness goals she had. He used the SCORE program as her go-to resource.

Now she is better off financially than ever, and helps hundreds of others achieve their fitness goals.

Student Debt Refinancing

Jesse Francis

Jesse was the classic case of a student that signed his life over to student loans at an early age.

He wanted desperately to attend an elite out-of-state university, but the cost was more than he and his parents could afford. He took out a Federal loan, and attended. But two years into college, his family got into financial trouble, and he was forced to take out another higher-interest loan. He also had changed majors and decided to become a school-teacher after graduation, which did not provide nearly as much income as his original career plans would have. To top it all off, he graduated during the financial crisis of 2008 and it took him over a year to land a full-time job.

Fortunately, he was able to take advantage of some forgiveness programs and also refinance his loan at a much lower rate. He is now debt-free and teaches all of his 9th grade students the dangers of falling into student loan debt.

Payday Loan Relief Programs

Jed Smith, Louisiana

Jed Smith lives in Louisiana with his wife and 3 kids.  At one point, the company he worked for went out of business and he had to find another job.  He found another job but in the meantime was trying to make ends meet.  He needed $500 to pay rent until his next paycheck came.  So he took out a payday loan.  Unfortunately, the circumstances changed and he wasn’t able to pay back the loan in time, and within a couple months had more than $2,500 in payday loans.  He made payments, but the debt amount kept getting bigger.  Then one day he signed up for a loan consolidation program.  They weren’t able to erase his debt, but they negotiated with the lenders to reduce the loan amount and the interest rates.  Within 12 months, he had paid off his debts and is debt free to this day.

Carla Misra, Texas

Carla is a single mother to three kids who works in a dry cleaner in a small suburb outside of Dallas, Texas. It’s very common that she works overtime in order to support her kids, but at one point, she took out a payday loan.

Like many who take out these predatory loans, she thought that all she had to do was pay back the loan in 2 weeks with a bit of interest. But something tragic happened – she had an unexpected doctor’s visit and was unable to pay it back. She thought ‘no worries, I can pay it back next week’. Little did she realize that her payment was now significantly higher than she could afford.

With nothing else to do, she took out another loan to pay that one off, and a third. Suddenly faced with over $2000 in debt (on a $400 loan), she didn’t know what to turn to. Luckily, she found a reputable debt consolidation firm that loaned her the money at a fraction of the interest rate to pay off her existing loan. Now she only has $200 of debt to pay back, and is living with far less stress and optimistic about her financial future.