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.
The attendees were a diverse group, including a tribe, regional economic groups, a council of governments, and small business representatives. Geographically they came in from towns more than 100 miles south near the Mexico border, from a reservation a 100 miles to the east, and from a community organization 150 miles to the north.
It was clear that access to capital for small, rural businesses is an important issue across Arizona!
Arizona State Director Alan Stephens kicked off the roundtable, emphasizing the focus of revolving loan programs on creating and saving jobs by providing access to capital.
The agenda included a presentation by Business Program Director Gary Mack on the various relending programs offered by USDA. Business Program Specialist Jennifer Burton explained the Revolving Loan Fund user manual, provided an Intermediary Relending Program Ultimate Recipient Guide.
Longtime USDA RD partner Lyle Frederickson gave a presentation on lending tips for making prudent loans. He ought to know quite a bit about that! Lyle has been USDA Rural Development’s #1 commercial partner in Arizona over the past 17 years—responsible for over 25 USDA Business and Industry Guaranteed Loans. His personal observations were priceless lessons for others. Lyle emphasized the power of successful revolving loans, noting that “success is a force multiplier” for a community. Among the helpful information that Lyle shared was how he conquered the difficulties of lending on tribal lands.
Some folks filtered out of the conference room at the end of the scheduled four hour roundtable. But two hours AFTER it was scheduled to end, many of the particpants were still in the room exchanging ideas on how to make successful loans!
To learn more about USDA business loan programs and how they can assist your rural business, click here.