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USDA Business Administrator Judith Canales Promotes Job Creation in New York State Through the Recovery Act

Bankers and economic development officials from across New York attended USDA Rural Development’s Lender Roundtable in Syracuse on April 8.  Sponsored by New York’s Rural Business Program, the event featured USDA Business and Cooperative Programs (B&I) Administrator Judith Canales. The Administrator emphasized the B&I Program’s desire to attract new lenders, while strengthening its existing lending relationships and creating jobs.

Administrator Canales’s opening remarks focused on the Business and Industry (B&I) Loan Guarantee Program’s success in New York. The program has provided more than $35 million in loan guarantees with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding so far this fiscal year, saving hundreds of New York jobs. Through the program, a lending institution issues a loan but a portion of the risk is assumed by USDA.

“Now” is the best time to apply to the program, Canales said, noting that Recovery Act funding provided an additional $2 billion in loan authority, increased the guarantee to 90 percent on loans of $10 million or less, reduced the guarantee fee from 2 percent to 1 percent and eliminated the servicing fee.

New York State Business Program Director David Schermerhorn noted that Rural Development had heard lenders’ concerns about past delays in guarantee approvals and has taken proactive steps to address them. Many states, including New York, have had their loan approval authority increased to $10 million and New York’s state office also has taken internal steps to streamline its approval process. The end result is that New York is now issuing more loan guarantees faster than ever.

All in all, I was very happy with our first Lenders Roundtable. Our existing banking relationships were deepened and prospective lenders heard about the program’s benefits from our staff and their fellow bankers, which is the best marketing we could possibly have. The discussion also provided us ideas for future events, such as a conference on USDA’s renewable energy programs and how lenders might be able to support those efforts.

I am also very thankful to Administrator Canales for her support. It’s fair to say that many of our lenders attended the session so they could meet with her.

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