Omolara “LuLu” Gaines, via Instagram, 2019

He wouldn’t want me to do this but… here I go… I met this man 1 year ago and he has completely changed my life… I had just had a new baby, started a new program (H.E.L.P) and was in love with both… but I promise y’all, I didn’t know if I was coming or going… no only has he became my adviser, he’s like my best friend ❤️ …I wanna say thank you so much DAN… I’m forever grateful… I was blind starting H.E.L.P… no real guidance, I didn’t know nobody with a real non profit… In my head, this was not our lane… but I was determined and with this man pushing me for months to do this or do that, revise this, correct this, send me the finical statements, make an agenda, fundraise, create a spreadsheet, etc… I use to be like DAN… “I don’t know how to do all this shit”… but he believed in me and he kept riding and guiding me…. he would always say… “I’m not going to do it for you, but I will right your wrongs”… but I said all this to say… I appreciate him so much for helping me… I tell him all the time… you understand me… and he’ll say “yes Lulu I understand” This is what you call true genuine support, no money, no silent partner, no gain… he just wants to see me WIN.

I’ve never been the winner y’all and I’ve always been fine with that… I did just enough to make me feel good or to get by… but I promise y’all… I’ve already WON! …it’s official y’all! H.E.L.P is a Non-profit 501-c3. #NeverGiveUp (May 10, 2019)

I am forever grateful to have you in my Life…. Thank you for Believing in me and being one of my biggest supporters… #everyoneneedsaDan (January 14, 2019)


T. Scott, San Francisco, June 2019

Just want to let you know how much CDF’s staff and yourself are very valuable and great at
helping clients reach their financial goals with such wisdom and understanding.  Meeting a
person where they are with their finances is exactly what you all did with me, then continued to
educate until I became powerful enough on my own to make the important decisions with little to
no help.

You’re invaluable, I hope you know this. And I’m very thankful. It’s a thrill to be learning a
new profession, one that has always been the cause of my daydreaming. Can’t wait to see what
will become and all the ups and downs that are sure to come.


Lety H., 2018

From the bottom of my heart I want to thank the individuals of Community Check Cashing in Oakland. It is during the holiday season when I most remember those who have deeply helped me. In 2016 I was diagnosed with a rare disease that unexpectedly placed me on medical leave for several months. As we know, bills have no eye for life circumstances. The bills continued to come in, I was off work and my husband was neither working as he was my primary caretaker and did everything for me and my son. With poor credit and being on disability- I had no means of financial assistance. That is when Luis and CCC stepped in for me and my family. They were a blessing and offered my family an installment loan when all other creditors and banks denied me. This loan was our saving grace that allowed us to pay rent and other bills and food while I recovered. I am eternally grateful for CCC, standing true to its name and serving the community. Thank you always Luis and CCC!


Martha Dosal, 2017

I have been a Community Development Finance client for six years.  When I initially came in, I was totally in debt.  I came in and asked for information about the payday loans and check cashing and it was my lucky day that I met Luis Diaz.  At the moment he explained the process to me, I filled out an application for a payday loan.

At first, I didn’t like it because he told me he needed to check my references and my work place.  But it was worth the waiting time.  Over time, I started cashing my checks there.  He became very handy, but my situation didn’t change until I started talking to him about how to manage my money.  He gave me advice.  For example, if I needed $100 I should just ask for that amount, no more no less.  He checked my budget.

Over time, my financial situation changed due to advice I received from CDF.  I was able to open a checking account, get rid of payday loans, and I received consumer (installment) loans (from CDF) when I needed it the most.

Thank you very much CDF for all the help I received.


An Almost Never Done Testimonial, by Andre Rivera

For Community Development Finance, a 501c3 non-profit organization

A Light at the End of a Long Tunnel

Reason for this testimonial.

How I came to find a friend in the lending industry where people like me are not given a chance to succeed in their financial goals.  Community Development Finance saved me from imploding with debt and possibly losing everything I have worked so hard to achieve while putting myself through under-graduate and graduate school.

Exceptional service for those who want to be free from predatory lending practices.

Where you can find help if you are willing to put in the effort and are self-disciplined enough to achieve your financial goals through small step debt repayment planning and realistic budgeting of your free cash flow.  This is not a free ride, nor an easy task but it is a tried and true way to get out of impending financial crisis as well as rebuild your credit and allow yourself the room to grow in learning how to better manage your money.

My story.

“I do not know what I would’ve done if it was not for Luis and his dedication to helping those who are on the fringe of the predatory lending financial system where low income earners who have never been given the chance to succeed by way of reasonable interest rates or repayment terms, but instead are ostracized through insanely high interest rates that no one can afford and repayment terms that swallow you whole into a blackhole that is impossible to get back out of.”

“I truly am grateful for finding Luis and the non-profit organization Community Development Finance and will always remember that if it was not for Luis and his network of lenders and underwriters giving me a chance to prove I can be responsible and follow the terms and conditions of a loan that is reasonable and allows me the ability to repay the loan and still be able to live my life without having to file for bankruptcy or live in my car or be on the street simply because the 1% feels those who are economically disadvantaged do not deserve human decency.”

This financial raping of economically disadvantaged populations, with the never ending predatory lending death cycles are even that much more difficult to endure, especially when you have demonstrated high levels of responsibility in making on-time consistent payments that never even begin to pay off principal.  It is even more spiritually crushing when you have been achieving educational goals for nearly a decade while supporting yourself working full time and attending school fulltime, that will allow yourself the opportunity to be financially self-sufficient eventually (hopefully) and obtain a financial status that allows one to obtain a reasonable mortgage rate and maybe even having the possibility to retire without having to give up your freedom or needing to make life and death decisions based on your credit rating.

“Because of Luis’s approach in determining my ability to repay the loan within the very reasonable terms and conditions, I have confidence that this service will be available to those who are willing to put in the effort and be free from predatory lending schemes that are designed to keep you part of the 99% and lower your quality of life, even prematurely reaching end of life simply because you were never given the chance to learn how to be responsible with finances.

This is not, but should be a right, something taught as basic knowledge (financial skills), yet it is everything a decent quality of life requires and depends on knowing how the financial system works and that if the system were not corrupt and unjust, we could all enjoy some decent level of living that does not require one to resort to lending mafias just to make ends meet.

Testimonial provider:

Andre Rivera, MBA in Sustainable Management

A proud to be client of an almost never heard of service that helps you budget your income and begin to learn how to plan and manage your cash flow, even if it is not a lot, and start a pattern of consistent repayment of financial obligations and become a responsible, self-sufficient member of society.  Thank you Community Development Finance.


V.G., Oakland, CA, 5/22/2017 (From Yelp)

I cannot thank Luis enough for what he has done for me!!!!

I have been coming to this Check Cashing on and off for a while.  I’d always see the fliers on the counter advertising the Financial Coaching but I always assumed that I would have to listen to tips and facts I already knew with little advice on HOW to actually fix my situation. Well, I was completely wrong.  Luis signed me up immediately.  Upon my first appointment I told him my financial situation and he had a solution within minutes.  We reviewed my current income and prepared a budget to figure out where my money was going.  I told him I was stuck in between apartments, going from one hotel to the next, and that while I had longevity in employment my Credit Score was non-existent. The hotel life was expensive and it took up over 85% of my income but I couldn’t find a place anywhere due to my credit.  He offered me a loan to receive a $200 secured credit card and the money to pay off a Derogatory electric bill on my credit.

6 months later my credit score went from non-existent/below poor to 657!!!  I am now on my way to a 700 credit score thanks to Luis and his guidance.  I now have 2 checking and savings accounts.  2 secured credit cards that have now increased from $200 to $500 due to my good standing in payments for the last 5-6 months.  I am now eligible for other loans and unsecured credit cards.  Now I get to take my time and see what works best for me and my situation instead of going after whoever offered. I now realize that controlling your finances is a great responsibility and can affect not only you but your family and their livelihood.

Once again I thank you and your staff for being so kind and helpful.


Melvin, 12/4/2017

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5 Stars)
Community Check Cashing was unbelievably helpful to me when I wanted a Payday Loan for myself.  Luis was super helpful and was able to set me up with a Payday Loan.  I continuously was told that if I have any questions to please call for further information and assistance.  Luis always goes above and beyond what most Check Cashing Companies will not do.  Anytime I need a Payday Loan or any services in the Community Check Cashing Center in the Fruitvale, Oakland CA location I will definitely return.  I will recommend Community Check Cashing to all my family and friends.

Thank you!


Renilda Garcia, 2017

I heard about the “Community Development Finance” from a co-worker.  I always had a problem before on how I can send money to my children in the Philippines.  My pay check doesn’t fall on the times that I need to send money for my kids, but since I learned of this financial help and we’ve gotten to know Luis, this very supportive and nice guy, my life changed.

Now, I have a place to go every time I need money.  This has been a very big help for me, but hey, not only for me but for my husband also.  So you see, when you need cash come and see “Luis”.  He is very accommodating too. We have been with CDF for many years now.

Since we have been with CDF, our lives have changed.  I usually go to other people and borrow cash.  But, of course, it’s not always available and it is their money.  Unlike CDF.  I am usually late in paying my bills; my phone has been cut off; I have received termination notices for the power; and I have gotten overdrafts on my bank accounts.  Oh my!  But I am telling you, now I am free from all those times.  When I need help, I can always count on Luis, the “CDF” good handsome guy.


Joanne Bontempo, 2017

Community (Development) Finance is simply the best!  Luis, Kathy and the CDF Loan Department organized my financial needs and prepared a (consumer) loan tailored specifically to my situation.  After paying off my first (CDF) loan, my credit score jumped significantly, enabling me to apply for a second loan.

They provided solid advice and suggestions to help keep my budget in line with my income and cash flow.  I highly recommend a visit to their office.  You’ll be very, very pleased with the assistance they are able to offer.

Chris O., 2020

Thank you for all of the amazing help over the years with surviving.  No tenga mucha familia aqui en los Estados Unidos.  But thank you for the support.  I REALLY appreciate y’all.


©2024 Community Development Finance, Inc. 501(c)(3)

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