A non-profit organization run by Ohio State alumni provides financial services to the community of Columbus
A non-profit organization run by Ohio State alumni provides financial services to the community of Columbus

Ascent Microfinance, originally founded by Ohio State engineering and business students, aims to provide financial services and education to those who need it most. Credit: Madison Kinner | Lantern Reporter

Ascent Microfinance, a Columbus-based nonprofit created by Ohio State alumni, provides financial services to historically underserved communities.

According to organization website.

Scott Bond, an Ohio State alumnus and former CEO of Ascent Microfinance, said the organization helped families during the height of the pandemic when demand for personal loans increased in low-income communities in columbus.

“We realized there was a huge need to be met here, so that’s where we stepped in to provide a microloan that families can apply for,” Bond said.

According to the american small business administration.

Ascent Microfinance performs functions such as financial account management, distribution small personal loans and financial education, including individual tutoringthrough its website.

According to the association’s website, the organization offers personal loans at an interest rate of 5.5% – compared to an average rate of 14.47%, according to WalletHub. Bond said that by providing the loans, the organization is providing an affordable option for those who might otherwise be taken advantage of by dishonest lenders.

“It was doing something really great for the community because it gave them another option than having to go to a loan shark or a payday lender that they would otherwise have to go to because they can’t get money. personal loan from a bank or credit union,” Bond said.

Darshita Bajoria, a freshman in finance and current CEO of Ascent Microfinance, said the financial education provided by the organization is invaluable to people in these communities. She said they were leading financial education sessions Thursday evenings at the Hilltop branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, where people can stop by to ask questions and receive financial instructions.

Bond said the partnership with the Columbus Metropolitan Library has been delayed by the pandemic, but the organization is working to bring it back to full capacity and expand to more library branches.

Bajoria said members of the organization have found delivering financial education to be satisfying and they hope to do more in the future.

“We just want to broaden the focus of educating people about what they need education because we think that’s a big need in the community as well,” Bajoria said.

Bond said the organization also partners with OSU Extension — the outreach arm of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences — and Sisters of Empowerment — a Columbus-based nonprofit that provides education. and vocational training for low- to moderate-income women. He said groups like this help the organization financially empower communities in Columbus and across Ohio.

Bond said one of his favorite parts of Ascent Microfinance is its size and ability to help large groups of people, including on a one-to-one basis, across Columbus.

“I think the beautiful thing about Ascent Microfinance and where we can step in is that we have a larger team, and we also have the luxury of being able to have those one-on-one sessions,” Bond said.

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