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Loan company to open in ABQ, Rio Rancho

By May Ortega  –  Reporter, Albuquerque Business First

Albuquerque-based nonprofit Prosperity Works announced Tuesday that a California-based loan company helping people with few financial options will open in New Mexico.

Oportun, headquartered in Redwood City, California, will open two locations in the state Jan. 11. One will be in the Duke City’s South Valley at 1625 Rio Bravo Blvd. SW, with a grand opening planned for Thursday. The other will be in Rio Rancho; that address wasn’t immediately available Tuesday.

Oportun says it grants personal loans to people with little or no credit history to help them build a healthy credit score. This news follows the April passing of House Bill 347, which caps interest rate fees and charges for nonbank loans. Prosperity Works pushed to get the bill signed into law.

Oportun says it uses alternative data, advanced analytics and customer insights to determine each applicant’s ability to repay their loan, then sets amounts and terms that fit that person’s budget. The company also reports its customers’ accounts to two of the national credit bureaus to help them build their credit, according to its website.

The company’s loans range from $300 to $8,000. It has so far loaned $4 billion to 1 million people since its founding in 2005.

Ona Porter, president and CEO of Prosperity Works and co-chair of New Mexico’s Fair Lending Coalition, said in a statement that Oportun is a good option for locals.

“New Mexico needs a new breed of personal-loan provider who will treat all customers fairly and with dignity,” Porter said. “We are delighted to welcome Oportun to New Mexico.”

Oportun began allowing New Mexico residents to apply for loans in April.

Last month the Federal Reserve decided to raise its benchmark interest rate by a quarter point, between 1.25 and 1.5 percent, according to the New York Times. The Times also reported that private lenders could raise variable rates on personal loans, but the shift for most existing borrowers will not happen until the date specified in their master promissory note.

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