Living Wage Lending

Living Wage Lending




Soul-colleague Mattie Reitman makes loans out of his garage (to paraphrase the Mitt Romney quote at the bottom of his home page at Living Wage Lending).

Never mind Mitt Romney.  How about a quote from a satisfied lendee to give you a taste of Mattie’s specialty:

Mattie loaned me approximately $3,000 to pay off my credit card bill. I was able to pay him back in less than half the time it would have taken me to pay back the bank. I sent him a check each month knowing that that money was not going to line the pockets of bankers, and also knowing that I was helping Mattie to live and to do the great social justice work that he does. I’m so glad to have been a part of the development of this idea so that he can help others in the same way.


Is this radical or what? And simple. And caring, and good-humored. How so?  How does it really work?  It does.  Read what Mattie says about it–or the FAQs you’ll find here.

I’d say things have gone well so far.  No late payments, three active partners, regular monthly or quarterly check-ins [from lendees], and one new mid-sized loan in the works.  I feel happy to have my money doing something real, and to be making a very small amount of my income in a unique and occasional way. Mostly at this point it’s really simple.  I just ask people what they wanna do and then help (remind) them to do it.


One thing I love about LVL is that it moves us forward in the direction we wanted to go anyway.  It’s a positive positive feedback.  This is one of my coaching questions with soul-colleagues and in consulting with organizations: what if you were successful? I mean, beyond your present imagining?  Would success make you want to scream and tear your hair out? or give you peace, relief, space, time off, allies, shared workload, joy for all concerned? We have to think about these things, we world-changers, in our designs for change.

So take the world of lending.  Here’s what I mean: Any institutional lender, even very nice ones depends on our being in debt. That seems obvious, but think about it: their health depends on our overextending ourselves to some degree. The more in debt we are, the healthier the institution becomes–as long as we pay back our loans.  (This is why I prefer grants, gifts, sales of merchandise or services, events and direct appeals to loans). 

The positive feedback for the lender leads to a negative feedback for the lendee.  This seems to me inherently dicey, and to push us away from development (as sustainable, steady-state improvement in quality) toward more-ness, stuff, quantity–which most economics label “growth.” Yuck. The reason RAISING CLARITY does money the way we do money is so everyone, sustainably, experiences a beautiful quality of life.  I like that our work arena is often called “development.”

On the other hand from institutional lenders, Living Wage Lending will simply and happily shut down if we all get out of debt.  And Mattie’s vision is that we can and he wants to help us do so.  Once we stop needing or wanting loans, Mattie will go on and do something else, like consulting to help grassroots groups reflect, plan, and win or blogging, or something new, since Mattie is fertile-minded, resourceful, daring, and able to put practical foundations under castles in the air.

1 Comment
  • Jennifer
    Posted at 18:23h, 27 February Reply

    High Praise and love the seniment!

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