Pam interviewing Aaron Lackman

b&b23 Business Center for New Americans

***SPECIAL RADIO OFFER: If you email Aaron Lackman at alackman@nybcna.org and mention Brunch & Budget on Bondfire Radio, he will pull your credit report and credit score for free and review the score and report with you!***

Imagine coming to a new country, where not only the language and customs are foreign to you, but the financial system is so new and complicated, you don’t know where to start. Now imagine that there’s a organization out there who has your back.

Loan officer, Aaron Lackman, of the Business Center for New Americans, joins us live in the studio today to talk about the amazing work that BCNA has done to provide microloans to refugees and immigrants who are business owners or aspiring business owners. If you are an immigrant (or a woman who lives in Queens or Staten Island!!) who has a dream to own their own business, this show is for you.

BCNA also helps lower income families buy their first homes, with a down payment assistance program and education workshops on the homebuying process (anyone can tap into this service, not just immigrants!).

BCNA also offers free workshops that are open to the public on running and marketing a small business. See current workshops here: http://www.nybcna.org/bcna/events/

Episode Highlights:

Pam: Here’s the thing: with a lot of banks, they not only have very strict lending standards, but they also don’t like giving out small loans because they don’t make that much money off of them.

Aaron Lackman: Small businesses comprise 50% of the jobs in this country, and ⅔ of all the new jobs being created come from small businesses.

Aaron Lackman: [Interest] is 8.25% for smaller loans. Our larger loans could be up to 10%.

Aaron Lackman: What we do is called character-based loans.

Aaron Lackman: We look at other things. We will pull a credit report, and it’s not so much that we look at the score, but we look at the history, and we also spend more time with the clients. We’ll visit the businesses if they have a store location to verify they have a good business, and we’ll look at other things.

Aaron Lackman: You’re entitled to one free credit report from each of the credit bureaus once a year, and you can go to anualcreditreport.com. …They won’t give you a score but you can at least see all the accounts on your credit report and check for accuracy, because a lot of our clients we find, because they have very common names in their community, there’s a lot of mistakes on their credit report.