Mission, Philosophy, and Purpose

At its inception, CBA’s one-of-a-kind umbrella partnerships with the major consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) created national systems change, enabling nonprofit lenders, financial educators, and asset builders 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.

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.

Building the Field and Changing the System

Today we are innovative non-profit social enterprise dedicated to building the capacity of a diverse and growing network of hundreds of nonprofits (CBA members) in almost all 50 states and including Puerto Rico, that help low- and moderate- income households and small businesses build strong credit and other financial assets. Our membership is comprised of nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) loan funds, microenterprise development organizations (MDOs), and small credit unions as well as multiservice/integrated services organizations such as community action agencies, affordable housing organizations, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Economic Opportunity Centers, and local Catholic Charities and United Way affiliates, among others. Through our members, CBA services touch an estimated hundreds of thousands of clients in urban, suburban, rural, and tribal areas through programming tailored to the specific needs and assets of different populations in their local communities. In order to ensure its efforts remain grounded in the work members do every day, 50% of CBA’s Board seats are held by practitioners in the credit building field.

CBA intentionally leverages its position as a unique link between nonprofit credit builders and major industry players such as the CRAs, state and national partner network associations (including the Aspen Institute, Association for Enterprise Opportunities (AEO), Accion, Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI), Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), and the Corporation for Economic Development (CFED), etc.), and federal policy makers (including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Federal Reserve Banks, and the U.S. Department of Treasury) in order to continue to test and share innovative ideas and support the development of a more inclusive and just credit system.

As credit reports and scores are being used more widely and often — impacting what individuals pay for cell phones, insurance, and utilities as well as their housing and employment options — nonprofits with myriad missions are recognizing the connection between their clients’ credit profiles and the opportunities available to them. CBA is thrilled that the credit building message has spread so widely and quickly and also for the opportunity to support its new members in incorporating credit building into their programming.