/$40 million in federal loans aimed at rural Mississippi

$40 million in federal loans aimed at rural Mississippi

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Community Facilities Re-lending Program will award $40 million to Hope Enterprise Corporation, and Hope Credit Union. This money can be used to finance low-cost long-term debt capital for projects in rural areas of California. This money will be used for community services and facilities such as infrastructure, education, and health care. Lisa Mensah (under secretary, USDA Rural Development) stated that the USDA Rural Development is obligated to lend $40 million to an experienced lender who lends at the community level. HOPE is one of 26 community lenders that will receive more $400 million to re-lend rural America to help high-poverty and persistent-poverty regions. According to federal guidelines, HOPE must lend money to projects located in high poverty areas and areas with less than 20,000 people. The interest rate on the funds will be fixed at 2 3/4 percent for 40 years. Mensah stated that the funds will be loaned for 40 years at a fixed 2 3/4 percent interest rate. Many times, if you have a mortgage that lasts 40 years instead of 10, you will be able to pay off the mortgage and manage the debt. It will be durable. This is what we consider to be feasible in Mississippi and across the country. He said, “We now have the ability to provide them with affordable financing and long-term financing that will allow them to provide these services in an efficient and more stable way.” Trina George is the Mississippi director of USDA Rural Development. She said her experience in the state has made it clear that she believes a program such as the one announced Thursday is necessary. George stated, “As the state director from 2009, I’ve seen the problems that rural communities face. That is capacity: being capable of putting together a project and finding the funding necessary to complete it.” George said, “With this initiative, I believe we will be in a position to go into rural communities and ensure that they can go from beginning to end and build the facilities we need in rural America.” Two private financial institutions, the National Cooperative Bank and Bank of America, will provide guarantees for a portion of these loans. Dan Letendre is the CDFI Managing director for Bank of America. He stated, “What bank is doing is providing capital for USDA. HOPE then makes projects possible by using the capital. Letendre stated that while capital is the fuel, the direction is set by Hope. They make these things possible. “They make these things happen.