Community Facilities Direct and Guaranteed Loans
Who may apply: Community Programs can make and guarantee loans to develop
essential community facilities in rural areas and towns of up to 20,000 in population.
Loans and guarantees are available to public entities such as municipalities, counties,
and special-purpose districts, as well as to non-profit corporations and tribal governments.
Applicants must have the legal authority to borrow and repay loans, to pledge security for
loans, and to construct, operate, and maintain the facilities. They must also be financially
sound and able to organize and manage the facility effectively.
Repayment of the loan must be based on tax assessments, revenues, fees, or other sources of money
sufficient for operation and maintenance, reserves, and debt retirement. Feasibility studies are
normally required when loans are for start-up facilities or existing facilities when the project
will significantly change the borrower’s financial operations. The feasibility study should be
prepared by an independent consultant with recognized expertise in the type of facility being financed.
Community Programs can guarantee loans made and serviced by lenders such as banks, savings and loans,
mortgage companies which are part of bank holding companies, banks of the Farm Credit System, or
insurance companies regulated by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Community
Programs may guarantee up to 90% of any loss of interest or principal on the loan. Community
Programs can also make direct loans to applicants who are unable to obtain commercial credit.
Fund Uses: Loan funds may be used to construct, enlarge, or improve community facilities
for health care, public safety, and public services. This can include costs to acquire land needed
for a facility, pay necessary professional fees, and purchase equipment required for its operation.
Refinancing existing debts may be considered an eligible direct or guaranteed loan purpose if the
debt being refinanced is a secondary part of the loan, is associated with the project facility,
and if the applicant’s creditors are unwilling to extend or modify terms in order for the new loan
to be feasible.
Rates and Terms: For the direct loan program there are three levels of interest rates available
(poverty, intermediate, and market) each on a fixed basis. The poverty rate is set at 4.5%. The market
rate is indexed to the eleventh bond buyers rate as determined by the U. S. Treasury Department. The
intermediate rate is set halfway between the market and the poverty rates. Eligibility for these
different interest rates is determined by the median household income (MHI) of the area being served
and the type of project. The intermediate and market interest rates are adjusted quarterly. Contact
your Rural Development State Office to determine the eligible interest rate for your area.
For the guaranteed loan program, the interest rate is the lender’s customary interest rate for
similar projects. The interest rates for guaranteed loans may be fixed or variable and are determined
by the lender and borrower, subject to HCFP review and approval.
Loan repayment terms may not exceed the applicant’s authority (under State law or organizational structure),
the useful life of the facility, or a maximum 40 years.
Security Requirements: Bonds or notes pledging taxes, assessments, or revenues will be accepted as
security if they meet statutory requirements. Where State laws permit, a mortgage may be taken on real
and personal property. Tax-exempt notes or bonds may be issued to secure direct loans, but cannot be used
for guaranteed loans.
Application Processing: Applications are handled by USDA Rural Development field offices. Rural
Development staff will be glad to discuss a community's needs and the services available from HCFP
and other agencies within USDA. Field staff can provide application materials and current program
information, and assist in the preparation of an application.
The CF application process is a two-stage procedure (preapplication and application). Approximately 45
days is required to determine applicant eligibility, project priority status, and funding availability.
After an application is submitted, time to process the application depends upon the scope of the project,
environmental review, and legal issues.
Basic Instructions for Direct Loans: 7 C.F.R. 3570 and RD
Basic Instructions for Guaranteed Loans
For more information about this program, or to file an application, contact the local
Rural Development office in your area.