Alert
Close

Help Decide the Future of Aging. Join the White House’s Live Stream Tomorrow. Learn more

Highlights

Open
Military and Veterans Discount

FREE FUN!

AARP Games - Play Now!
AARP Staying Sharp: Keep Your Brain Healthy

 

You Could Choose Your Dream Vacation

Contests and
Sweeps

AARP’s Superstar
2015 Contest

Sing for a chance to win $5,000! Enter AARP’s Superstar 2015 Contest!
See official rules.

AARP Auto Buying Program

MOST POPULAR

Viewed

Inspire Awards 2009 Honorees

Martin Eakes, Lender to the Poor

Martin Eakes bet his career on a contrarian notion: poor people can be better at borrowing money than the rich. His Durham, North Carolina, community credit union, Self-Help, serves a clientele of classic credit risks—low-income families, single mothers. The loss rate for Self-Help’s so-called “toxic” borrowers? Less than 1 percent. “If I have a choice between making a loan to a rich person or one to a poor person, solely on grounds of credit risk, I’ll pick a poor person every time,” says Eakes, 54. “They simply take care of their debts better.” Since Eakes started Self-Help in 1984, it has provided more than $5.24 billion in financing to 60,130 homebuyers, small businesses, and nonprofits. In 1999 he led the battle for North Carolina’s pioneering anti-predatory-lending law and, as early as 2002, warned federal legislators that corrupt financial practices had set the scene for a massive wave of foreclosures. He’s now battling to make sure that the Great Subprime Meltdown doesn’t further victimize the most vulnerable. “We’ve got proof that families of limited financial means will be incredibly great borrowers if given the chance,” he says. “And there’s no one who can convince me otherwise.” … Back to Article

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Members save on first-year membership fees to  AARP® Roadside Assistance from Allstate.

AARP Credit card from Chase

Members can earn 3% cash back on purchases with the AARP® Credit Card from Chase.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.