The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development is taking steps to increase private investment in rural communities across the country by making it easier for lenders to access four flagship loan guarantee programs.
USDA is seeking public comment on a series of regulatory reforms known collectively as the OneRD Guarantee Loan Initiative. Under the initiative, USDA will eliminate duplicative processes and launch a single platform for four key loan guarantee programs:
- Water and Waste Disposal Loan Guarantee Program;
- Community Facilities Guaranteed Loan Program;
- Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan Program; and
- Rural Energy for America Guaranteed Loan Program.
USDA will also standardize requirements for credit reviews, loan processing, loan servicing, and loss claims. These measures will make the application process simpler and faster for lenders. Among the reforms, USDA intends to:
- Launch a common loan note guarantee application and consistent forms for lenders to use across the four programs;
- Issue loan note guarantees to lenders within 48 hours after they provide documentation to prove the requirements of the conditional commitment have been met;
- Provide guarantee percentage and fee requirements to lenders through a single annual notice at the beginning of each fiscal year;
- Allow lenders to obtain approval for a loan guarantee prior to the beginning of construction projects (a one-time fee and other requirements may apply); and
- Provide automatic approval to participate in all four programs to lenders in good standing that are supervised or created by state or federal regulatory agencies, expanding the base of eligible lenders (non-regulated lenders may seek approval to participate through a single certification process that will be valid for five years).
Input from the public is vital to ensure changes to these loan guarantee programs meet expectations, continue to support the mission of Rural Development, and avoid overly burdening customers. USDA plans to conduct a series of listening sessions this summer to seek feedback on the proposed changes. Sessions are currently scheduled for:
- Wednesday, July 22, 2020, at 10:30 am PT
- Wednesday, August 5, 2020, at 10:30 am PT
- Wednesday, August 19, 2020, at 10:30 am PT
For more information or to register, visit www.rd.usda.gov/onerdguarantee.
You may also submit written comments to www.regulations.gov by September 14, 2020.
These changes will take effect on October 1, 2020. Additional information is available on page 42494 of the July 14, 2020, Federal Register.