Accion San Diego, the nonprofit micro lender, said its loan portfolio hit a new high, $3.9 million in December, up 29 percent from the end of 2012.
Robert Lopez, Accion’s director of lending, said it’s the second consecutive year that Accion reported record growth. The San Diego office is the fastest growing in terms of volume of five Accion offices in the nation.
Although business lending is up at traditional lenders, the small loans Accion makes are for low to moderate income entrepreneurs, many of whom have a difficult time convincing a bank they are a good risk, Lopez said.
Loan origination last year was 209 credits for $2.5 million, compared with 166 loans for $2.1 million in 2012.
As of year-end, the portfolio is nearly spotless with 99 percent repaying as promised, Lopez said.
Loans range from $300 to $50,000 at rates that are slightly higher than what a bank would charge, but many banks avoid micro lending.
Funding for the loans comes from grants and gifts. Last year Accion got a $747,000 grant from the U.S. Treasury, and $100,000 from the Leichtag Foundation.