Credit Builders Alliance (CBA) is an innovative national nonprofit network dedicated to building the capacity of a diverse and growing network of hundreds of nonprofits across the country.
CBA was created by and for our nonprofit members as a bridge to the modern credit reporting system to help millions of individuals with poor or no credit participate in the mainstream financial system by building credit.
We embrace and elevate diverse experiences. Our commitment to economic justice defines our work.
We value the power of information and our role as a responsible steward. Our expertise, grounded in our mission, makes us a trusted advisor and intermediary.
We proactively connect practitioners, organizations, and industries—not only to each other, but also to products, opportunities, and innovations.
We pursue financial equity for all by striving to capture meaningful outcomes and drive best practices in credit building.
We believe in supporting our employees to reach their potential. We do this through a commitment to volunteerism, skills development and professional advancement.
At CBA, we recognize the legacy of systemic racism and cultural oppression that have long served as barriers to success for communities of color and those who have been historically disenfranchised. We believe that our organization is stronger when we embrace and celebrate the diverse experiences of our employees, board, and larger credit building community and work to be a proactively anti-racist organization. Our employees, board, and membership represent a range of races and ethnicities, genders and gender identities, sexual orientations, abilities, generations, spiritual beliefs, socioeconomic backgrounds, communication styles and more. This diversity brings valuable perspectives to our work and our relationships. It inspires us to advocate for one another and seek solutions that benefit us all.
In addition, we recognize that consumers of color and immigrants have been historically excluded from access to regulated, safe credit building opportunities. A predatory alternative financial service industry stepped in to profit off of communities of color and immigrants with no other options. Continued (intentional and unintentional) discrimination against, divestment, and extraction from communities of color contributes to credit invisibility and low credit scores. Given these complex realities and the stark racial wealth gap that persists, the unique role that CBA plays in the credit building field, and our national platform, we make the following commitments to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice (DEIJ) as we implement our Mission and Values.
Theory of Change
Founded in 2008, CBA’s one-of-a-kind umbrella collaborations with the major credit reporting agencies (CRAs) created national systems change. For the first time, nonprofit lenders, financial educators, and asset builders were able to help tens of thousands of low- and moderate-income individuals and families in underserved communities across the country build credit. “We stand on the shoulders of CBA”, notes one of our members, Mission Asset Fund, whose work has been showcased as a national model for helping households build credit and other financial assets.
CBA was created by and for our nonprofit members in response to a serious gap in the modern credit reporting system that locks millions of individuals with poor or no credit out of the mainstream financial system without opportunities to build credit. Our philosophy is that good credit is essential to achieving and maintaining financial stability, and that mission driven nonprofits are uniquely positioned to help these struggling households build credit as an asset.
Growing a Credit Building Community
CBA’s platform of services helps shape our members’ programs by connecting them to the credit bureaus to report loan payments and to pull reports for underwriting and financial coaching. We support practitioners through training and professional development opportunities, especially resonant these days as there are a lot of changes happening in the credit industry. We promote the replication and scale of safe and responsible credit building products and strategies, and we also advocate for consumer friendly policies at legislative levels and within the credit industry itself.
Every CBA service, program, and task is performed in pursuit of one unified objective; to increase the capacity of nonprofit organizations to effectively support their low- and moderate-income clients in building credit as an asset.
What is Credit Building?
Credit building requires the existence of at least one positive trade line, such as an installment loan or credit card, on an individual’s traditional credit report. To build credit, that trade line must be both open and active, meaning the consumer or small business is both using credit regularly AND making all payments on time. Credit building is by definition the opening and successful management of financial products over time -- the key to building and maintaining a good credit history.