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Advocacy

Our advocacy vision is to help create an inclusive world in which all entrepreneurs have the opportunity to make their dreams come true, and struggling communities become economically vibrant. To succeed, we need to change the broader systems impacting our work and the communities we serve.

What we're advocating right now

  • Truth in Lending Advocacy Update

    Individual consumers are protected by the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), which requires transparent disclosure of loan terms, fees, and APR of loans. Small businesses, however, are not covered by this law, leaving them vulnerable to misleading or irresponsible lending practices. For years, AOF has been concerned by this lack of transparency - a problem that requires urgent action.

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  • A Thoughtful Community Reinvestment Act

    Aspects of the CRA could be improved to reflect current banking trends and maximize impact. Given the COVID-19 pandemic and its long-term implications, it is crucial that banks are incentivized and held accountable to invest and engage in truly impactful activities that help minority and LMI communities and the economy recover from this multi-lateral crisis.

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  • Expand Credit Enhancement Programs

    State-run Capital Access Programs (CAPs) make it possible to fund entrepreneurs that are generally considered “too risky.” For each loan enrolled, CAP programs provide a small contribution to a loan loss reserve account – providing a high degree of leverage per public dollar invested. To create a healthy ecosystem, these programs must be expanded.

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Small Business Borrowers Bill of Rights

Unlike consumers, small business owners have few legal protections from high-cost, low-transparency loans that can cause more harm than good. The Small Business Borrower’s Bill of Rights (BBoR) is the first cross-sector consensus on the responsible lending practices that all small businesses deserve and should serve as a guide to state and federal policymakers. The BBoR includes the rights to:

Transparent pricing and terms
Non-abusive products
Responsible underwriting
Fair treatment from brokers
The right to inclusive credit access
The right to fair collections practices.

Advocacy