Zweifel announces low-interest loans
St. Joseph News-PressRyan Davis
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
Missouri State Treasurer Clint Zweifel visited St. Joseph Monday to announce around $10 million in low-interest loans made by his administration to farms and small businesses in Northwest Missouri.
The loans were issued through the Missouri Linked Deposit Program, starting in January 2009.
"This is exactly, in my opinion, the smart, responsible types of investments that we have to make in Missouri," Mr. Zweifel said.
The program essentially places state funds with community banks at below-market interest rates. As a result, community banks can issue loans to borrowers at a reduced rate.
Mr. Zweifel said 126 loans were issued in the region that impacted 71 jobs and 106 local farmers, saving an estimated $152,000 in interest annually for borrowers.
Mr. Zweifel championed an expansion of the program last year. Gov. Jay Nixon signed the corresponding legislation into law in June.
Before the expansion, small businesses were eligible if they had 25 or fewer employees. Now, small businesses with fewer than 100 employees are eligible.
"This is an easy-to-use program," said Mr. Zweifel. "It's easy for borrowers to qualify."
"The legislative expansion has greatly increased access to low-cost capital," he added.
In 2009, seven farmers in Buchanan County received $665,000 in loans. Total savings for county borrowers were estimated at $8,100 annually.
Mr. Zweifel said the low-interest loans cost taxpayers nothing. Over time, changes to investment practices will allow taxpayers to receive a market-rate of return on their investment.
The program, which is intended to help create and retain jobs, has approximately $720 million in lending power.
A list of participating lenders and program eligibility guidelines are online at www.treasurer.mo.gov/LinkedDeposit.
Ryan Davis can be reached at email@example.com.