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Intermediary Relending Program

Supporting Regional Economic Development Strategies in Oklahoma's Tribal Communities

Rural Oklahoma is home to many important tribal communities.  Among these, the Choctaw Nation spans over ten counties in southeastern Oklahoma, while the Cherokee Nation runs along the state’s northeast border, and Muscogee (Creek) Nation lies farther west.

These communities play a critical role in developing businesses, affordable housing, and infrastructure like water, roads, and telecommunications. However, these areas endure chronic poverty, limited opportunities and countless other economic challenges.  For instance, most of the 1,100 residents of Boley, Oklahoma – located in the heart of Creek nation – live on less than 25 dollars per day.

Earlier this year, I joined Leslie Wheelock, Director of USDA’s Office of Tribal Relations, on a visit to the area.

CDFI - Important Part of Infrastructure

The 8th Annual Governor’s Native American Summit was held last week at Utah Valley University in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Utah’s Rural Development State Director Wilson “David” Conine wanted to share with attendees the importance a community development financial institution (CDFI) can play in tribal development.  He turned to his counterpart, South Dakota Rural Development State Director Elsie M. Meeks who has over 20 years of experience working for Native community economic development.

Meeks recognized CDFI as an important part of the infrastructure for delivering consistent funding for housing and small business development activities that benefit low and moderate income people.  They combine multiple sources of public and private capital in order to make loans and investments available in ways tailored to the particular underserved geographies and types of businesses or borrowers.  Developing capacity among these types of organizations can increase utilization of USDA programs in a region, many of which provide long-term below-market capital for permanent improvements in rural areas.

White House Rural Council Growing Rural Economies, Creating Jobs

Cross posted from the White House Blog:

This week is National Small Business Week. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), along with agencies across the Obama Administration, are hosting events in five cities. These events provide expert advice, mentoring and explore topics ranging from access to capital to exporting. Small businesses across the country can tune into these events via livestream at sba.gov.

America’s small businesses create two out of three net new private sector jobs in our economy. And today more than half of all working Americans either own or work for a small business. Our goal is to ensure that the positive economic benefits of entrepreneurship can reach every corner of the country.

USDA Support Helps Foundry Workers Save their Jobs

It has been nine years since the employees of the Mereen-Johnson Foundry banded together and risked their retirement savings in order to keep their jobs and secure a future for themselves and their families by buying the foundry.  Dakota Foundry, Inc. is a manufacturer of gray and ductile iron castings, located in Webster, South Dakota, and it was on the brink of closure until the employees stepped up to the plate.

Revolving Loan Funds Support Maine's Rural Small Businesses

Earlier this month, Revolving Loan Fund partners representing 13 Maine Intermediaries and 8 Microenterprise Development Organizations gathered at the USDA State Office in Bangor to listen to and share ideas for investing in rural Maine businesses. This meeting was one of dozens of Revolving Loan Fund Roundtables taking place around the country to assist USDA’s Intermediary Relending Program (IRP) and Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP) providers share Best Practices and challenges encountered in financing business projects in rural areas. In Maine, there is approximately $9.3 million in existing revolving loan funds for credit-worthy businesses seeking capital.

USDA Seeks Applicants for Loan Funds to Create Rural Jobs

Applications are being accepted starting today from qualified non-profit and public organizations (intermediaries) to provide loans to create jobs by promoting new business development. Funding will be made available through USDA’s Intermediary Relending Program (IRP). Intermediaries work as partners with USDA and serve as a critical component to boosting local economies.

The Intermediary Relending Program is USDA Rural Development's primary program for capitalizing revolving loan funds. Since President Obama took office, the program has created or saved an estimated 20,000 jobs nationwide.

Arizona Revolving Loan Roundtable Aims to Help Small Businesses Expand and Create Jobs

Nobody in the audience was checking emails or text messages. No one was squirming and looking at the clock. In fact, all of the attendees were riveted to the presentations.

The event was a recent Revolving Loan Fund Roundtable sponsored by USDA Rural Development in Phoenix, Arizona.

Lyle Frederickson with Great Western Bank observed the attentiveness and speculated that was because the lenders in the room represented small communities…and rural communities are crying out now more than ever for help capitalizing their small businesses.

USDA Offices in Delaware/Maryland and New York Host Meetings to Boost Lending to Rural Businesses

Last month, USDA Rural Development’s Delaware - Maryland State Office and the State Office staff in New York hosted roundtable discussions on Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) availability.  RLF programs are unique programs that provide funds to local and regional organizations to capitalize and operate revolving loan funds.  Revolving loan funds are used to assist with business financing and economic development activities to create and/or retain jobs in disadvantaged and remote communities.  As such, these are programs that have great potential for meeting USDA’s rural economic mandate in a time of scarce federal funding.

USDA Promotes Business Development Efforts in Puerto Rico

Earlier this month, USDA Rural Development-Puerto Rico held an Intermediary Relending Program Roundtable meeting for area stakeholders.

Our staff provided a brief overview of the program followed by a very dynamic question and answer session.  The most significant issues discussed were the current barriers to access capital for small businesses and the need to complement their services offerings through common inter-organizational effort.

The main objective of the meeting was to gather all main Intermediary Relending organizations and share their current best practices and current lending challenges.  The meeting also proved to be an excellent opportunity to make services networking, exchange organizational information and identify new funding opportunities.