National Providers of Local Alternative Financing

A large part of LAICI's mission is to promote and support alternative financing providers.

We look at three core metrics when selecting to highlight financial institutions or financial service providers:

First, we value equity. That is to say, we support only financial services companies who provide fair rates to the borrowing public (while, at the same time, providing a fair yield to their investors). Fairness is subjective - though one "knows it when one sees it" - so, in ranking providers, we compare prevailing market rates (on both sides of the equation) in order to determine, at least somewhat objectively, whether the financial offering is what we consider to be "equitable", for all parties, and in any aspect of financial transaction.

Second, we value integrity. While fair rates provide a relatively objective first-pass heuristic against predation, there are often follow-on "costs" (such as origination fees, payment fees, transaction fees, inactivity fees, et cetera) which, when observed, can give a good measure of the integrity of a financial services provider. Of particular interest are "early payoff" or "prepayment fees", which, when we see, are excellent indicators that the incentives of the financial services provider are structured to keep the borrower in debt rather than to help the borrower to achieve long-term financial stability. Often, borrowers are unaware of these fees, and some providers intentionally hide them in small print. We read the small print and include only those providers who evidence a high degree of integrity.

Finally, we value transparency. There is almost a direct correlation between the amount of time it takes us to determine, from the stated terms of a financial offering, whether it is "equitable" and "integral" and this, third, metric we term "transparency". Those lending their funds at fair rates, with full disclosure of all fee schedules involved in such lending, and with clear and easily understandable terms, outlining all benefits and costs of their particular financial service, seem, often, almost naturally, to meet our two initial criteria.