August  2003      Vol. 12, No. 8  REAP HOME PAGE  A publication of the Center for Rural Affairs    
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CommunityExpress Loan Program Available to Lenders
REAP seeks to become a technical assistance provider for a new pilot loan program that emphasizes this important service.

CommunityExpress is a pilot Small Business Administration (SBA) loan program developed in collaboration with the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) and its member organizations.

Under the pilot program available to selected lenders, an SBAExpress-like program will be offered to pre-designated geographic areas serving mostly low and moderate income areas and small businesses entering new markets. The program will include technical and management assistance, which is designed to help increase the loan applicantís chances of success in their business.

SBA initiated the CommunityExpress program in May of 1999 with about 10 NCRC lenders. The Agency is now expanding the program to include Pilot Loan Program lenders with at least a 90 percent currency rate on their SBA 7(a) portfolio for the last three fiscal years. Selected non-Pilot Loan Program lenders who meet eligibility requirements for participating in the SBAExpress program are also included.

Technical Assistance (T/A) has been recognized by both NCRC and SBA as often crucial to the success of these businesses. Borrowers must receive pre and post loan closing technical and management assistance from local non-profit providers and/or participating lenders, with the assistance coordinated, arranged, and, when necessary, paid for by CommunityExpress lenders.

CommunityExpress lenders must establish (and document) an internal procedure to ensure the consistent delivery of appropriate and effective technical and management assistance. The process begins with identification of qualified and committed T/A providers.

The focus then shifts to the CommunityExpress applicant and the T/A providerís development of a business plan (as appropriate). An assessment of the applicantís management and technical assistance strengths and weaknesses follows.

If weaknesses are identified, the lender documents the T/A providerís recommendations and the remedial plan. The lender, in cooperation with the T/A provider, is also expected to strongly encourage the applicant to follow that plan.

The REAP program is in the process of applying to be a technical assistance provider for the SBA Community-Express Loan program. Find out more on the web at:

 Contact: Jeff Reynolds, for more information.
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