Our mission, as a non-profit economic justice enterprise, is to provide equitable financial services and coaching as a pathway out of predatory loans.
Provide affordable installment loans structured to make repayment as easily as possible.
Provide financial coaches who help our borrowers wrangle their financial lives and improve their credit score.
Enable our clients to graduate to conventional financial services.
Grow to create a sustainable justice and social enterprise model that others can emulate across the United States.
“Any informed borrower is simply less vulnerable to fraud and abuse.”
Alan GreenspaN | Past Chair of the Federal Reserve
BetterFi's inception began as part of the South Cumberland Plateau AmeriCorps VISTA Project, through the Economic Development Coordinator VISTA position between the University of the South's Office of Civic Engagement, their Babson Center for Global Commerce, and the South Cumberland Community Fund.
With assistance and guidance via local partnerships with the Grundy County Mayor's Office and the Rotary Club of Grundy County (among many), a series of potential economic development entity concepts were explored and developed. Through a series of stakeholder meetings and surveys, the clearest potential and need was found to be with a consumer microfinance loan fund, a community development loan fund (CDLF) that could operate both as an affordable alternative to predatory loans and as a means to develop financial knowledge.
With considerable expertise and support from the aforementioned parties as well as the Sewanee and South Cumberland Plateau communities at large, BetterFi was incorporated on October 13, 2017. BetterFi filed for tax exempt status from the IRS shortly thereafter, and began developing a board, funding, and a plan to pilot a predatory loan alternative in Franklin, Grundy, and Marion counties.
At the start of 2018, Tower Community Bank began to provide resources to evaluate cooperation with BetterFi, culminating in a partnership that will allow BetterFi to proceed and begin operations.
BetterFi's pilot began in April 2018, and we received 501(c)(3) non-profit status on May 17, 2018.