The General Board uses the PSP Lending Program to promote affordable housing, community development and expanded loan opportunities for poor communities around the world, all while earning a market rate of return commensurate with risk. The program began in 1990 with a $25 million commitment to affordable housing. Today, the program has over $750 million invested for the creation and preservation of affordable housing and other community development facilities.
The General Board's affordable housing program—the centerpiece of the PSP Lending Program—involves acquiring mortgage loans from independent third parties, usually nonprofit organizations. Investments in multifamily, senior and special-needs housing achieve competitive, risk-adjusted rates of return and result in real improvements in the quality of life for thousands of people. The completed housing units shelter individuals and families earning less than the area's median income. The affordable housing program has been used to fund the construction, rehabilitation or preservation of over 30,000 affordable housing units in all 50 states.
In order to maintain positive communities, it is important to foster residential, commercial and social development. The General Board's community development program is dedicated to investing in community facilities that work for or provide services to low- and moderate-income people. These facilities include homeless shelters, health care facilities, community centers and charter schools. Community development investments achieve competitive, risk-adjusted rates of return.
Microfinance is a type of lending offered to people in developing countries who have little or no access to traditional financial services. Microfinance loans generally are small—sometimes no more than a few hundred dollars—and usually require no collateral. Recipients of these loans typically are low-income women engaged in small-scale, household-based businesses.
The General Board participates in microfinance by lending money to qualified financial organizations that have identified creditworthy microfinance institutions around the world. These microfinance investments indirectly lend money to more than 50 microfinance institutions that serve more than 1 million people in Latin America, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia and Africa.