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Community Developments Investments (November 2013)

This Just In...the OCC’s Four Districts Report on New Opportunities for Banks

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Western District 

Western District Icon Susan Howard (818) 240-5175
Michael Martinez (720) 475-7670
Dave Miller (913) 384-6005 x224

Community Engagement Key to Innovative Healthy Food Initiatives

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) supports projects that increase access to healthy, affordable food in communities lacking these options.

IFF, a nationally respected Midwestern community development financial institution, has established the Healthy Foods Access Investor Consortium to encourage bank investments and share risk. IFF is seeking three-year pledges for 10-year investments at a minimum of $250,000 to purchase participations in notes backed by IFF loans. The return to the investor has a floor of 3 percent.

IFF is taking an innovative approach to addressing the lack of healthy food options in low-income communities. IFF participates in the federal HFFI in Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Missouri and in the Kansas City metro area. This year, IFF is administering a new program: the Illinois Fresh Food Fund. Both programs provide low-interest loans to full-service grocery stores that locate in areas with limited access to healthy food choices. IFF’s target geographic areas are determined by the Agriculture Department’s Food Desert Locator and the Reinvestment Fund’s PolicyMap methodologies.

What makes IFF’s programs unique is a community engagement and education component. To receive the beneficial financing, all grocers must first submit a plan to engage their communities and help disseminate information on healthy food choices and good diets community-wide, through permanent and consistent activities.

For more information, or to request a prospectus, contact Lloyd Shields at lshields@iff.org.

Southern District 

Southern District Icon

Scarlett Duplechain (832) 325-6952
Nancy Gresham-Jones (813) 664-1006
Karol Klim (770) 280-4435

Aaron Satterthwaite (214) 720-2844

 

Meeting Small Business Needs of Savannah and Surrounding Communities

The Small Business Assistance Corporation (SBAC) is a specialized, nonprofit business development organization licensed by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and supported by the city of Savannah, Ga., and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to promote economic growth. The SBAC offers a variety of loan programs for new and existing businesses in the service delivery area of Savannah, southeastern Georgia, and the Low Country of South Carolina. Its products and services include the following:

  • Financing for new and existing businesses through the SBA 7(a), 7(m) Microloan, and Certified Development Company/504 loan programs; the city of Savannah’s Community Development Block Grant Program’s Revolving Loan Fund; and the U.S. Agriculture Department’s loan programs, including funding for microbusinesses and “green” initiatives.
  • Provision of debt and equity funds to new and existing businesses through the Savannah Regional Small Business Capital Fund.
  • Provision of management and technical assistance to small and medium-size businesses in all phases of development.
  • Information dissemination and publications concerning local business issues and program services available to support small business growth.

The SBAC has been in operation since 1989. A volunteer board of directors that reflects the makeup and business development interests of the area governs this nonprofit organization. Priority is given to serving women- and minority-owned businesses in Savannah and the surrounding region.

For information about the SBAC’s products and services, visit www.sbacsav.com or contact President Tony O’Reilly at (912) 232-4700.

Northeastern District 

Northeastern District Icon Francis Baffour (917) 344-4487
Vonda Eanes (704) 350-8377

Bonita Irving (617) 737-2528 x223
Denise Kirk-Murray (212) 790-4053

Vermont’s Working Lands Enterprise Initiative

During its 2012 session, the Vermont legislature passed the Working Lands Enterprise Initiative for the management and investment of $1 million to help promote economic development and sustainability in Vermont’s agriculture and forestry sectors. About 20 percent of Vermont’s land is used for agricultural purposes and 75 percent for forestry. The initiative’s primary goals include the following:

  • Stimulating a concerted economic development effort on behalf of Vermont’s agriculture and forest product sectors by systematically advancing entrepreneurism, business development, and job creation.
  • Increasing the value of Vermont’s raw and value-added products through the development of in-state and export markets.
  • Attracting a new generation of entrepreneurs to Vermont’s farm, food system, forest, and value-added chain by facilitating more affordable access to the working landscape.
  • Increasing the amount of state investment in working lands enterprises, particularly when it leverages private and philanthropic funds.

The initiative includes establishing the Working Lands Enterprise Fund, which provides agriculture and forestry-related grants focused on three areas: new or growing businesses involved in the production of agriculture or forest-related products; service provider grants to support training and technical assistance; and grants to support capital and infrastructure needs. Grant applicants are required to obtain matching funds in support of their projects. These matching funds can come from public, private, or foundation sources.

The fund is directed by the Working Lands Enterprise Board, which is made up of private sector members involved in agriculture and forestry; the Vermont Agency of Agriculture; Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation; Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development; Vermont Housing and Conservation Board; Vermont Economic Development Authority; and Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund. The Working Lands Enterprise Fund is administered by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets.

For more information about the Working Lands Enterprise Initiative and the Working Lands Enterprise Fund, call (802) 585-9072 or visit www.vermontworkinglands.com.

Central District 

Central District Icon Paul Ginger (312) 360-8876
Timothy Herwig (312) 660-8713

Norma Polanco-Boyd (216) 274-1247 x275

Ohio’s ‘Bad Girl Ventures’ Small Business Financing Initiative

Bad Girl Ventures (BGV), serving Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus, Ohio, is an education and microfinance organization dedicated to supporting women entrepreneurs. BGV enables women entrepreneurs to build and sustain well-managed, profitable businesses through guidance, education, and access to capital.

BGV combines microlending with a nine-week business development course. Each course is taught by successful business owners and professionals from the local community with in-depth experience in their fields. Each course consists of a two-hour classroom session followed by a one-hour, one-on-one coaching session, during which industry experts answer questions in a setting like a “speed-dating” matchmaking process. After completing the nine-week course, entrepreneurs can apply for a BGV $25,000 microloan or an SBA loan.

Financial institutions can invest in BGV by sponsoring courses, lending bank staff to serve as faculty or mentors, or contributing to the microloan fund (as a grant or revolving loan program).

In addition, SoMoLend (which has the same founder as BGV’s) is a pioneering Web-based lending platform that connects small business borrowers with organizational lenders looking to make a return on investments. SoMoLend has partnered with Gate Global Impact to service loans. With Gate Impact, SoMoLend can facilitate “friends and family” and “accredited investor” loans. The new relationship offers protections to investors that traditionally have been offered only in other transactions. The alliance also allows high-net-worth individuals to make loans through SoMoLend. Finally, the alliance enables SoMoLend to establish a foundation for servicing even more categories of loans with the final passage of the JOBS Act of April 2012. Implementation began in early 2013.

Opportunities include setting up accounts with SoMoLend to lend directly to borrowers in banks’ assessment areas; providing technical assistance to SoMoLend, such as reviewing underwriting algorithms to minimize lending risks; referring clients not qualified for a traditional bank loan to BGV for further training or a microloan; or serving on SoMoLend’s advisory board.

For more information, contact BGV and SoMoLend founder Candace Klein at (859) 803-9499 or candace@somolend.com.