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Rural micro-lending launched

A micro-lending program designed to finance new and expanding small companies in rural areas of northwestern Nevada has been rolled out by the nonprofit Western Nevada Development District.

Two pools of loan funds — one totaling $15,000 and the other totaling $70,000 — are available for in the Business Microloan Program, said Ron Radil, executive director of Western Nevada Development District.

The $15,000 loan pool, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s rural economic development program, can be used for loans in the $4,000 to $5,000 range, Radil said. The larger loan pool, which is financed through federal funds provided to the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development and the City of Fernley, can be used for loans up to $50,000.

But Radil noted that loans from the larger pool come with strings. Borrowers need to create at least one fulltime job for a low- to moderate-income worker for every $35,000 they borrow.

And some potential borrowers in the district’s three big cities — Reno, Sparks and Carson City — may be shut out because of rural-oriented requirements of the lending program.

The loans can be used for a wide range of business purposes — everything from startup operating costs and working capital to purchase of real estate and equipment.

A three-person loan committee that includes experienced business people and commercial lenders oversees the lending program.

Sheryl Gonzales, a project manager for Western Nevada Development District, said members of the loan committee have provided informal business counsel to borrowers as they’ve reviewed loan proposals.

Radil said the lending program fills a gap as commercial banks sometimes are reluctant to loan money to the smallest of business. He said the development district may welcome participation agreements with banks on some of its lending.

The development district covers Washoe, Storey, Lyon, Pershing, Humboldt, Churchill, Mineral and Douglas counties in addition to Carson City.

Loan applications are available at Western Nevada Development District Office at 775-883-7333, extension 108 or extension 114.

NNBW staff


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