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José Quiñonez

April 23, 2017

9:30 am

It’s almost impossible to rent an apartment or buy a car without a bank account or a credit history—and a disproportionate number of minority, immigrant and low-income people have neither. 2016 MacArthur “genius grant” recipient and founder of the Mission Asset Fund José Quiñonez explains how he updated the lending circle, a traditional cultural practice in Africa, Asia and Latin America, so everyone can participate fully in the American economy and the American dream.




About the guest

José A. Quiñonez founded Mission Asset Fund (MAF) in 2007 and continues to drive its mission of providing pathways to prosperity for low-income communities. Under his leadership, MAF has become an award-winning organization with innovative models for bringing communities across the nation out of the financial shadows and into the financial mainstream. In 2016, José received a MacArthur “Genius” award for his vision and creativity as a financial services innovator. MAF’s pioneering Lending Circles programs has allowed over 7,000 people to build their credit scores and access zero-interest loans to rent apartments, start businesses, and apply for citizenship. In 2014, José advocated for legislation that made California the first state to regulate and recognize credit-building loans as a powerful tool for change. José lived undocumented for much of his youth before gaining legal status through the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. That experience shaped his lifelong commitment to breaking down the barriers that keep people from realizing their full potential. He currently serves on the Consumer Advisory Councils for Capital One, Experian and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. From 2012 to 2014, he was the inaugural chair of the Consumer Advisory Board of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. José received a B.A. from the University of California at Davis and an M.P.A. from Princeton University.


Financial Services Innovator José A. Quiñonez | 2016 MacArthur Fellow

Mission Asset Fund

About The Forum

The Forum is a series of stimulating conversations about faith, ethics and culture in relation to the important issues of our day. We invite inspiring and illustrious people to sit down for a real conversation with the Forum’s host, Malcolm Clemens Young, the dean of Grace Cathedral, and with you. Our guests range from artists, inventors and philosophers to pop culturists and elected officials, but the point of The Forum is singular: civil, sophisticated discourse that engages minds and hearts to think in new ways about the world.

About the host

The Very Rev. Dr. Malcolm Clemens Young is the dean of Grace Cathedral. He is the author of The Spiritual Journal of Henry David Thoreau and The Invisible Hand in Wilderness: Economics, Ecology, and God, and is a regular contributor on religion to the Huffington Post.


Gresham Hall


Free and open to all


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