Can a Trusted Lending Circle Disrupt Payday Loans? Part 2: Setting the Tone in the First Round

Leon Di, Product Marketing @ WeTrust

This is Part 2 of a series of articles describing an experimental Trusted Lending Circle in East San Jose utilizing concepts from the WeTrust Platform. For the introduction in Part 1, click here.

Earlier today, the members of the Trusted Lending Circle met at the boxing gym. After a light workout, we grouped together to determine who would receive the payout for this round. In boxing, the first round is important in establishing the tone for the rest of the fight. It’s a chance for the boxers to get a feel for their opponent, the ring, even the way the referee is calling the fight. The first round of this Trusted Lending Circle was no different: everyone seemed to be feeling out this new concept. There was a bit of anxiety, and no one seemed to want to come out and claim the week’s payout.

To ease things along, I suggested that the members of the Trusted Lending Circle should go around and tell everyone in the group what they would use the money for if they received the payout. As the foreperson of the Trusted Lending Circle, Andrew started first: he would use the money on a quick trip he was planning to Los Angeles with his girlfriend. The first few answers were similarly devoid of any pressing need: people mentioned saving the money, or using it on an expensive night out. Then, we arrived at Sheila. Sheila has been studying to receive a nursing certification, and she mentioned that her exam for the American Nurses Association was coming up. Registration for the exam would cost her over three hundred dollars, and without taking the exam, Sheila would be unable to become a nurse. She was considering doing some Uber driving to make some more money to pay for the exam, but the extra driving was eating into her studying time. As a single mother working a full time job, taking classes, and caring for a young son, she was already unbearably busy!

Immediately, everyone in the group stated that this would be a worthy cause for the Trusted Lending Circle. Andrew called for a vote, but the voices in the gym were already unanimous: the money should go to Sheila to pay for her nursing exam, so that she would be able to have more time to study. Sheila graciously thanked everyone, as we all wished her luck on her coming exam. As I walked out of the gym, Khoi and Charlie chatted with me, mentioning how good it felt to be helping Sheila in her time of need. The first round of the Trusted Lending Circle seemed to go well, and I was hopeful that it would set a positive tone for the remaining 6 rounds.

To see what happens in the next round of the Trusted Lending Circle, follow the WeTrust blog! And for more on how WeTrust is creating financial inclusion via the blockchain, check out https://www.wetrust.io and join our Slack!