Meramec Regional Planning Commission was awarded a $780,000 revolving loan fund from the Economic Development AdministrationCARES Act Recovery Assistance grants.

The MRPC board approved the CARES revolving loan fund plan submitted to the Economic Development Administration for the use of the funds, which will include a micro-loan lending program to meet working capital and fixed asset needs, according to the regional planning commission.

“Small business are the backbone of our region, and many have been directly impacted by COVID-19,” said Bonnie Prigge, executive director of MRPC. “We are grateful that Congress and EDA have made these dollars available and really allowed us the flexibility to meet the needs of businesses to ensure strong and resilient communities."

The CARES revolving loan fund new loan program is designed to provide financing for small businesses – in particular to quickly and efficiently meet the needs of those impacted by COVID-19.  The loan program is structured to include simplified loan applications and closing procedures, reduced loan application fees, reduced borrower equity and collateral requirements and reduced interest rates, according to MRPC. 

“Essentially, we have money to lend to small businesses impacted by COVID-19 at really good rates for things like working capital, inventory, equipment, land and buildings,” MRPC Business Loan Specialist Candace Connell said.

MRPC and the Meramec Regional Development Corporation, who will work as the loan review agent, consider loan requests from $5,000 to $200,000 for businesses located in the Meramec Region.

According to MRPC, the program will allow borrowers to finance up to 90% of the total project cost. Projects up to $50,000 do not require a participating lender. For projects over $50,000, a participating lender must finance a minimum of 25% up to 50% of the total cost. The loan terms are up to eight years for working capital and typically 15 years for fixed assets with reduced interest rates. The first loan was made at 3.5%. Additionally, for every $20,000 borrowed the business must create or retain one job and all businesses need to demonstrate an impact from COVID-19 when applying.  

This is MRPC’s third Economic Development Administration-financed revolving loan fund. Repaid capital will be held by MRPC for relending.

MRPC also received $78,000 to cover staff time as the fund is being established and marketed. According to MRPC, this helps ensure the lower loan rates.

MRPC was one of six Economic Development Administration-financed revolving loan funds that will provide critical gap financing to small entrepreneurs across Missouri.

The other agencies awarded include Boonslick Regional Planning Commission, Southeast Missouri Regional Planning Commission, Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, St. Louis Economic Development Partnership in Clayton and Lake of the Ozarks Council of Local Governments.

Businesses and bankers interested in learning more about this new loan opportunity can contact Candace Connell, MRPC business loan specialist, at cconnell@meramecregion.org or by phone t 573-263-8651.