McKenzie River Reflections - Make the McKenzie Connection!

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March 19, 2016



Maia HardyNIMROD: Business owners and people planning start-ups heard some interesting news this month from Maia Hardy. Speaking at a meeting of the McKenzie River Chamber of Commerce, Hardy outlined loan programs targeting rural businesses that are available through Community LendingWorks (CLW).

“We are a community development financial institution,” Hardy said, adding, “We’re a non-governmental lending institution that does affordable ‘mission lending’ for folks who have had a hard time accessing loans through a traditional bank.”

Community LendingWorks was established in 2012 under the wing of the Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation, which, for 35 years, has worked primarily in the Eugene/Springfield metro area. It has offices both in Marion and Clackamas County as well.. NEDCO’s programs have ranged from home ownership loans to supporting business incubators.

The business model for CLW includes a revolving loan fund, according to Hardy. “A credit score is not a determining factor for getting a loan. We take a holistic look at the business and work with them if they need more of a financial education.” That additional assistance can involve one-on-one counseling or small business classes and helping them with marketing.

 


“We’re trying to make a big push for rural communities – you guys are among those who need it most,” she told members of the chamber who met at the Eagle Rock Lodge on March 3rd. The recipient of a $2 million grant from the US Dept. of Agriculture, CLW is also backed by the Oregon Growth Board, the US Dept. of the Treasury, two banks and other agencies.

Loans CLW makes to busi-nesses include market loans that range from $300 to $3,000, microenterprise loans of from $1,000 to $7,500 and small business loans that cap out at $50,000 each.

Business that secure a loan pay them back at from 9 to 12 percent interest rates. “That may be a little higher than a bank because we lend to riskier businesses,” Hardy explained. “We get a loan from a bank at 3 to 5% and loan it out to make money on that margin.”

Asked what the failure rate on the loans they’ve made, she said CLW has had only one loss. “Because we’re a mission based we look at the whole financial picture,”

Hardy said. When dealing with seasonal businesses like farms, CLW will structure a payment program that coincides when funds come in like harvest season in August. “We try to be flexible and structure it so it works for you,” she added.

People interested in finding out more about Community LendingWorks can contact Maia Hardy at 541-345-7106, ex. 2222 or [email protected]

 

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