By Sister Marilín Llanes, OP Director and Portfolio Manager Office of Portfolio Advisory Board Redbud Financial Alternatives, Inc. is a community development financial institution (CDFI), which, since 2014, has shepherded and strengthened a handful of rural communities located in underserved and underbanked eastern Kentucky. Redbud is committed to answering the needs of the communities it serves with equitable financial action, often transforming the lives of many. In March 2023, the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Portfolio Advisory Board (PAB) members unanimously approved a loan request to first-time recipient Redbud. Redbud’s mission aligns well with the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ 2022 Enactment that beckons us to build “the beloved community in which everyone is cared for, absent of poverty, hunger, and hate.” James Caudill, Director, shares how Redbud answered the call for help from this single mom in deep financial stress. Lindsey, a single mother of two young children, recently approached Redbud for help when she noticed that the balance on her auto loan wasn’t going down. For over two years, Lindsey had led a successful life in substance use recovery, working as a carpenter and assistant trainer in the Housing Development Alliance’s Hope Building Program. Upon reviewing her credit file, we discovered that she was paying a whopping 23.89% interest rate on her loan! We discussed the situation with Lindsey, and afterward, we paid off both her current loan and the finance company loan, using a Redbud loan with a 6.00% interest rate. This financing helped Lindsey save $188.33 a month and lowered her debt-to-income ratio by 7.85%! One of Lindsey’s greatest dreams is to be a homeowner, and now, with Redbud’s help in refinancing her car loan, she is one big step closer to realizing that dream. Predatory lending practices are widespread in eastern Kentucky, impacting the lives of thousands of people burdened with high debt due to unfair and abusive loan terms on borrowers. This results in stripping the borrower of any chance of equity. Redbud promotes individual financial stability and greater community development by focusing on financial literacy, financial rehabilitation, and equitable alternatives to high-cost lenders. One of four CDFIs in this area, Redbud has made more than $2 million in fair and affordable consumer loans, collectively saving clients more than $400,000 in interest and fees. A client of Redbud shares this note of gratitude: Redbud has been so easy to work with and extremely eager to help during times that we really needed them. The flood of July 2022 left us with the loss of multiple vehicles and our home was left unlivable. Redbud gave us the ability to purchase a vehicle that we could use for transportation for all of our family members. … Thank you, Redbud!! We in the PAB stand in solidarity with Redbud as it continues its work for the common good against high-cost lenders and serves as a beacon of hope in answering the financial needs of people with catalyzing action.