News Release
Release No.STELPRD4018304
ContactChris J. Kanazawa808-933-8301
Chester M. Cabral808-933-8318
HILO, Hawaii, Sep 26, 2012 --

@@USDA Rural Development State Director Chris Kanazawa announced today the selection of Maui Economic Opportunity, Inc. (MEO) to receive an Intermediary Relending Program (IRP) loan to promote economic development and job creation through increased business lending.

"The Intermediary Relending Program is a perfect example of how USDA Rural Development is able to leverage its funding by partnering with organizations like the Maui Economic Opportunity and provide needed economic stimulus for businesses in rural communities," said Kanazawa.

The total amount of loan announced today is $180,000. The IRP provides funds to organizations to establish revolving loan pools that are used to finance business and economic development activity to create or retain jobs in rural communities.

"MEO is very happy to be partners with USDA and have another loan program to offer our clients," said Lyn McNeff, Chief Executive Officer of Maui Economic Opportunity, Inc. "In these economic times, these funds will help spur economic development by creating and expanding jobs for small entrepreneurs that are unable to access funds through banks or other sources. Small businesses are a vital part of the Maui Community."

Established in 1965, under the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, Maui Economic Opportunity, Inc.'s mission is to strengthen the community while helping people in need restore their hope, reach their potential and enrich their lives. MEO's small business lending arm, the MEO Business Development Center is an economic development program within MEO that has been providing micro-enterprise loans, business planning classes and credit/business consultation services to residents of Maui County for the last sixteen (16) years. MEO Business Development Center's purpose is to alleviate poverty and increase economic activity and employment in Maui County. The program's target population includes individuals who do not have access to traditional lending sources.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $172 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).