ACE
ACE
Greg Smith got help from ACE for his business Westside Creamery.
Headquarters: Cleveland, Ga.
Number of loans: 87

Grace Fricks started ACE out of her house in Cleveland, Ga., in 1997. ''I had a whole other job, but to help my community, I thought, 'What can be so hard about [loaning] $50,000?' '' she said.

She and ACE have since graduated into a real office. The nonprofit has done $6.5 million in loans to clients, ranging from a one-woman housepainter to an organic diaper factory to a local icecream maker.

The lender disbursed 87 loans in 2008.

Two years ago, ACE created a ''green loan'' program that gives companies a better interest rate if they help the environment in some way. ''It was apparent there was going to be a green economy,'' said Fricks. And we said, '' 'we need to make sure our folks can participate in this.' ''


Source: The top 10 largest microlenders were taken from the U.S. Microenterprise Census, conducted in 2009 by FIELD at the Aspen Institute. The list , which is the most recent from the Institute, presents results based on the number of microloans (loans of $35,000 or less) disbursed by 362 U.S. microlenders throughout fiscal year 2008.
Last updated July 15 2011: 3:46 PM ET
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