Untapped funds in your rural community

You could be missing out on loan programs for your home or business if you reside in a rural area.

White house with red door and white picket fence out front.

Eligible businesses and home buyers/owners in rural communities could receive United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) assistance, but local lenders may be unaware these programs exist or how they work.

Michigan State University Extension’s partner Northern Lakes Economic Alliance (NLEA) came together with loan experts Alan Anderson and Michelle Collins of USDA Rural Development (USDA RD) to host a lending forum walking local lenders through their Business & Industry Loan Guarantee Program and several rural housing loan services.

In a small group setting, the lending forum was a great way for lenders to have their questions answered and have fruitful discussion on loan eligibility, restrictions and terms. Lenders also learned the process of underwriting these USDA RD loans so that they would be better prepared to offer programs to their clients.

Participating lenders included Huntington Bank, 4Front Credit Union, Citizens National Bank, First Community Bank and Greenstone Farm Credit Services.

USDA RD’s Business & Industry Loan Guarantee Program improves the economic health of rural communities by increasing business capital through loan guarantees that enable commercial lenders to provide affordable financing for businesses in eligible rural areas. Qualifying businesses include for-profit, non-profit, public bodies and individuals. Whether converting, developing, repairing or refinancing your business, find local lenders to help.

On the residential side of things, USDA RD has multiple loan programs to provide decent, safe and sanitary housing for single family dwellings or multi-family rental units for residents with very-low, low and moderate incomes. These programs also seek to assist the elderly and persons with disabilities lacking affordable housing. With ongoing shortages of affordable housing, USDA RD may be able to assist you.

MSU Extension has had a unique relationship with the regional economic development organization Northern Lakes Economic Alliance (NLEA) for more than 20 years. Recognizing the strength of combining resources, this partnership focuses on economic development, entrepreneurship growth and community infrastructure throughout a four-county region in the northwest Lower Peninsula, specifically Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan and Emmet counties. As a result, the NLEA utilizes resources offered through MSU Extension as it provides leadership to state-wide programs sponsored by MSU Extension.

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