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New Loan Product for Refugees

Published July 18, 2016.

 

Windmill Microlending, formerly Immigrant Access Fund, is pleased to announce a new program: a microloan specifically for refugees in Canada. Refugees can apply for an interest-free loan, with the interest funded through donations from the community.

The Refugee Loan Program is based on Windmill’s regular microloan product and will offer up to $10,000 for licensing and/or training in their field. Refugees and protected persons from anywhere in the world are eligible as long as they apply within three years from the time they have attained refugee status in Canada to the date of their loan application. RBC has generously provided funding for outreach efforts to target both government assisted and privately sponsored Syrian refugees.

“Resettling refugees has historically been a part of Canada’s humanitarian tradition,” said Laura Wood, Chair, Windmill Microlending Board of Directors. “While our primary focus continues to be on enabling as many immigrants as possible to find work in their field, we felt that offering this new service together with our partners is the most appropriate way to support Canada’s achievement of providing a safe haven from thousands fleeing conflict or persecution. In addition to financial support, this will send a strong message to refugees that their new community is standing behind them. We need to come together to support their success in Canada.”

Loan recipients will be required to make minimum payments which will be applied against principal. As with standard Windmill microloans, borrowers will be registered with Equifax to begin building their credit history in Canada. While minor adjustments will be made to the risk assessment framework when considering applications to refugee loans, Windmill expects the new stream of refugee loans to perform as well as their standard loans, which have had payback rates of 97% since the program’s inception.

The Windmill Microlending Board of Directors and staff are excited to offer this new product that will remove financial barriers to accessing the needed licensing/training refugees require to work in their field in Canada. To contribute to this program by covering the interest costs for our Refugee Loan Program, contact Jeni Piepgrass, National Director of Development at jeni@teamwindmill.org. For more information about the Refugee Loan Program, visit this page or contact our Intake Team at info@teamwindmill.org.

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