Here are descriptions of the four primary lending sectors that community investing supports:
Affordable Housing lending builds or rehabilitates housing for low-income families. Many programs also provide important and pivotal support in helping individuals secure and repay mortgages, and even offer training and empowerment programs that help support new homeowners in other areas.
Microenterprise Development focuses on assisting low-income people in starting their own businesses by providing very small loans, less than $25,000. Internationally, loans can be as small as $50. Some programs lend directly to individuals, while others use a peer-lending model that binds individuals together in a supportive group of borrowers. Many programs also offer technical assistance.
Small Business Development lending is more traditionally structured and supported than micro-loans. This category of lending assists low-income people in disadvantaged communities to start or increase the scope of their own businesses by providing loans generally over $25,000.
Community Development lending supports non-profits and cooperatives that are working directly with disadvantaged populations and communities to develop enterprises that provide core social resources, such as health services and daycare centers. Others activities include banking services in targeted communities and critical funding to non-profits, cooperatives, and environmental programs.