Gratitude & Growth: Our Biggest Investment Yet - Exodus Lending - Exodus Lending

Gratitude & Growth: Our Biggest Investment Yet

By anika June 26, 2024

May, 2024
Exodus Lending works with financially excluded Minnesotans to advance economic justice through consumer lending, community organizing, and advocacy. Visit our website at
Gratitude & Growth:
Our Biggest Investment Yet.

We are thrilled to announce a transformative 4-year investment from the Bush Foundation to support our newly minted mission of working with financially excluded Minnesotans to advance economic justice through consumer lending, community organizing, and advocacy.This grant represents the largest single gift in Exodus Lending’s 10 year history! 

It is because of YOU – our supporters, community partners, founders, former board and staff, program participants and graduates – that we have the reputation, trust, and track record to meet this growth opportunity offered by Bush Foundation!

“We are incredibly excited to be in continued partnership with The Bush Foundation and grateful for this generous investment which will be a game-changer and accelerant for our organization’s work. With these funds, we’ll be able to dramatically increase our impact.”
– Anne Leland, Executive Director

While it has been nearly a decade since we made our first refinancing loan in April 2015 and started working with Minnesotans for Fair Lending (MFL) on a decade-long campaign to end payday lending in Minnesota in 2023, our work is not done until we have a financial system where everyone—particularly those who’ve been historically and systemically excluded—can access, protect, and build wealth. Our aim was and still is to put our flagship predatory loan refinancing program out of business by fighting all forms of predatory lending. This is why we were at the MN State Capitol this year to fight predatory “rent-a-bank” online lending (more on that below…). However, this work often feels like a game of whack-a-mole where a win is followed by a new predatory scheme popping up and harming our community (e.g. Earned Wage Access or EWA). 

There is still a need for fair, safe, and accessible small-dollar loan alternatives for Minnesotans. To address this credit access gap, our team is carrying out a second pilot of our “anti-payday” Resiliency Loan, which provides up to $1,200 for essential expenses to borrowers through partnerships with nonprofits throughout Minnesota. 

“The Resiliency Loan Program has the potential to reshape the financial services landscape for the people most vulnerable to predatory lending practices. Exodus Lending is pioneering upstream alternatives that will help people build financial power. This innovative lending model is positioned to spread across Minnesota as an inclusive approach to loan underwriting proven to have a high rate of repayment.”
– Rudy Guglielmo, grantmaking officer at Bush Foundation

 This investment from the Bush Foundation will allow us to model and push more of our community to offer products and pass regulations that see and center the positive power of people.

Over the next four years, we will:
Scale-up the Resiliency Loan Program to more communities in Greater Minnesota and across the Twin Cities by embedding the loan within trusted organizations and offering wraparound services. 
Mobilize a broader base of statewide advocates, storytellers, and consumers to join the MFL coalition as we continue our fight to reform rent-a-bank lending in 2025 and defend MN strong consumer protections.
Shore up the internal staffing, operating capacity, and organizational infrastructure to meet the growing demand for our programs and to sustain the growth afforded by this generous investment in our work. 

Update on Rent-a-Bank legislation 
We’re endlessly grateful to our Exodus Lending community and our MFL coalition partners for showing up in full force this legislative session to fight against predatory Rent-a-Bank Lending in Minnesota. Thank you to everyone, including Exodus Lending program participants and graduates, who shared their testimonies and stories both publicly and directly with their elected officials over the course of the session.

After the 10+ years we spent fighting for interest rate caps on payday loans leading up to last year’s big win, we know that building to these victories often takes time. This was a new issue for us, and while our provision made it into the last days of session negotiations, it didn’t make it across the finish line. We’re up against an industry that will do whatever it takes to keep profiting from Minnesotans experiencing economic hardship and their teams of lobbyists were able to maintain the status quo for now. 

But we’ll be back next year and we have something they don’t – the support of the people! Minnesotans who want better for our communities and people who have experienced this problem directly and are eager to see change will join together until our voices are louder than their dollars. Look for upcoming opportunities to learn more about this effort and how to get the word out in your community, and join our advocacy “action alert” mailing list here. 

Predatory Lending in the News
In case you missed it, here are some of the latest news items on predatory lending:
Supreme Court upholds funding structure for consumer watchdog agency (NPR)
How Many Families Take on Debt to Pay for Groceries? (Urban Institute)
The Costs and Pitfalls of ‘Earned Wage Access’ apps that offer loans between paychecks ( PBS NewsHour Youtube)
Zombie 2nd Mortgages are Coming to Life, Threatening Thousands of Americans’ Homes (NPR)