Is There A Rural Loan Program for Businesses?

Chris Roush | May 19th, 2010

Actually, yes, there is. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is offering guaranteed loans of up to 90 percent to businesses in communities with populations of less than 50,000 people. The loan program was created as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, but has not attracted as many takers as officials had hoped.

Department of Agricultural Guaranteed Loans

The program normally guarantees loans up to $10 million, but loans of up to $25 million can be guaranteed in certain cases. The USDA web site notes that preference is given to loans of $5 million and under. However, loans of less than $200,000 are referred to the Small Business Administration. The program requires banks to conduct their usual due diligence on a loan before the USDA approves the guarantee.

Loan Qualification

Businesses can receive loans for start-up costs, real estate, construction, refinancing of debt and just about anything else. Churches, charitable groups, race tracks and golf courses are ineligible for the program. Companies located in larger cities can qualify, but only if the operations seeking funding are located in a rural community.

Applicants for the loans can be individual or sole proprietors, partnerships, corporations, cooperatives, trusts or other legal entities organized and operated on a profit or non-profit basis, as well as municipalities, county or other political subdivisions of the state.

As of the end of last April, USDA officials reported that $42 million in loans had been awarded in Ohio. The program runs through September 30, when any unused funds must be returned to the U.S. Treasury.

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