Loan program aims to get struggling families back on the road

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Providence-based nonprofit lender launched a new program Wednesday to get struggling families back on the road.

Rhode Island Gen. Treasurer Seth Magaziner announced the partnership with Capital Good Fund, which aims to provide low-interest car loans for low- to moderate-income Rhode Islanders.

Magaziner said many residents don’t have access to affordable loans when they’re in need of a reliable vehicle.

“It’s not in anyone’s interest to have Rhode Islanders fall into a cycle of debt where they’re more likely to experience bankruptcy, to go on public assistance,” he said Wednesday. “It’s much better that you have people that are able to get access to affordable financial services so they can get to work in the morning.”

Capital Good Fund charges 9 to 15 percent interest on new car loans.

“Our goal is a 15-loan pilot, but we’re ready to do far more loans than that,” said CEO Andy Posner. “We know the demand is there, so we hope to get hundreds, if not thousands, of applications.”

If the model works in Rhode Island, Posner said the plan is to expand nationwide.

“There’s a $100 billion a year financial services industry that we’re trying to tackle, if not put out of business,” he said.

Sherlie Martinez has already taken advantage of the loan program. She used to drive an unreliable, 20-year-old vehicle that was always in need of expensive repairs, but now she has a 2013 Kia Optima.

“Even now, I can’t believe that I’m driving such a beautiful car, and my daughter is beyond proud,” said Martinez. “She’s like ‘we have a new car!’ and I’m like ‘yes we do! We have a new car!”

The loans range from $8,000 to $13,500.

Click here to apply for a loan with Capital Good Fund.

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