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Our Lending Philosophy

HCLF recognizes multiple bottom lines: we are responsible to our investors, but also to our community.  We measure the value of what we do by portfolio performance and return on investment, but also by our community impact, including:

  • Affordable housing units rehabbed or created

  • Private and public sector capital invested in projects financed by HCLF

  • Jobs created by HCLF-financed projects

  • Homeowners supported

  • Changes in public and private sector policies affecting the economic health of low-wealth residents in our target market

To serve the area's low-wealth residents, HCLF’s activities are focused on:

People:  Many Hartford residents operate outside the financial mainstream. HCLF estimates that approximately 45% of city residents have credit scores below 620, and 50-60% of city residents are unbanked or underbanked. In collaboration with other community stakeholders, HCLF is working on the development of a network of financial empowerment centers through which Hartford residents could receive financial coaching, employment assistance, and help accessing public benefits.  HCLF also offers microloans to residents for the purpose of building credit.

Products:  In addition to our consumer microloan and citizenship loan products, HCLF offers construction-rehab loans for the renovation of blighted residential and mixed-use properties.  More recently, HCLF has developed a Tax Lien refinance loan to help eligible Hartford homeowners avoid foreclosure from tax lien investors. 

Policy:  Existing policies and systems sometimes work against the economic empowerment of Hartford’s low-wealth residents, so HCLF is an advocate on relevant policy matters which have an impact on our neighbors.  In 2013 and 2014, for example, HCLF worked for reform of the City of Hartford’s real estate tax lien sales policies.  We've also been at the forefront of an initiative which would increase access to healthy, affordable foods for city residents. 

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