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Revolving Loan Fund Resource Center

Revolving Loan Funds & Development Finance

Revolving Loan Fund programs are diverse tools that communities can use to support small and mid-sized businesses, environmental remediation and even affordable housing. Revolving Loan Funds are designed to be evergreen as they are maintained by the repayment of principal and grow through interest payments.

Establishing a revolving loan fund provides access to a flexible source of capital that can be used in combination with more conventional sources. Often the RLF is a bridge between the amount the borrower can obtain on the private market and the amount needed to start or sustain a business. For example, a borrower may obtain 60 to 80 percent of project financing from other sources.

Quality RLFs issue loans at market or otherwise competitive and attractive rates. Many RLF studies have shown that access to capital and flexibility in collateral and terms is more important to borrowers over lower then market interest rates. RLF programs should be built on sound interest rate practices and not perceived as free or easy sources of financing. RLFs must be able to generate enough of an interest rate return to replenish the fund for future loan allocations. With competitive rates and flexible terms, a RLF provides access to new financing sources for the borrower, while lowering overall risk for participating institutional lenders.

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+Understanding Revolving Loan Funds

DF Perspectives 3: Tips for Managing Your RLF Program
This article provides information on fund capitalization, RLF committee, program marketing, and loan servicing for revolving loan funds. It was written by CDFA and appeared in the third issue of Development Finance Perspectives.
A Guide to Public Sector Business Loan Funds
This report, produced by the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Research Foundation and the Development District Association of Appalachia, examines the role of public sector loan funds and includes discussions on best practices
Establishing a Revolving Loan Fund
This fact sheet, produced by the Ohio State University Extension, discusses how to establish a loan fund to encourage small business development in a community. Included in this fact sheet is a discussion on the role of Revolving Loan Funds and the basic steps in establishing a Revolving Loan Fund.
Administering a Revolving Loan Fund
This fact sheet, produced by the Ohio State University Extension, discusses the basics of administering a Revolving Loan Fund. The fact sheet includes advice from application through loan servicing.

+Revolving Loan Fund Resources

CDFA has collected more than 400 resources specifically on Revolving Loan Funds.

When the Deal Goes Bad - Philadelphia Region
Mike O'Donnell discusses how successful RLF programs always make every attempt to craft a good loan. Some deals, though, will inevitably go bad. How your fund handles loans and borrowers during this difficult period can help minimize losses and maximize recovery. Mike offers some suggestions for addressing failed deals.
Pre- and Post- Closing and Ongoing Servicing - Philadelphia Region
Rachel Baldini explains how awarding the loan is just the beginning of a longer process. She covers pre- and post-loan closing, including the documents that are needed in various collateral situations and the importance of file preparation. Rachel also discusses how establishing a servicing process can assure quick detection of issues within the RLF portfolio.
Pre- and Post- Closing and Ongoing Servicing - Philadelphia Region
Mike O'Donnell explains how awarding the loan is just the beginning of a longer process. He covers pre- and post-loan closing, including the documents that are needed in various collateral situations and the importance of file preparation. Mike also discusses how establishing a servicing process can assure quick detection of issues within the RLF portfolio.
Case Study: Making the Loan Determination - Philadelphia Region
Mike O'Donnell focuses on the variety of RLF concepts and practices that have been discussed and puts them into context through a case study example. This case study reviews who the partners were, how the loan was assembled, sources of capital, and how the loan determination was made. Mike discusses the deal, what worked well, and considers the lessons that can be learned for future loans.
The Decision Process - Philadelphia Region
Rachel Baldini discusses how the underwriting and financial analysis of loan requests is an important element of all successful RLF programs. The ability to collect and analyze the information provided by the potential borrower is discussed in detail during this presentation. Rachel also covers the information needed to conduct both program and project analysis. In addition, Rachel will cover the financial analysis process and necessary documentation materials, such as the profit-loss and cash flow statements.
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+Revolving Loan Fund Programs

The RLF Program Database provides details on loan funds throughout the country. Resources are restricted to CDFA members only. CDFA members must login with their unique CDFA username and password to access restricted items. Non-members can join CDFA today to gain access to the entire database. Submit your RLF for this database.

+Case Studies

Revolving Loan Funds can be used to achieve many different community and economic development goals. CDFA has collected over seventy case study examples.

Revolving Loan FundsMembers only Login
Jennifer Sherwin of the Self-Help Credit Union presents on Revolving Loan Funds in rural areas.
CDFA Texas Webinar: Driving Economic Development with Revolving Loan Funds Members only Login
A revolving loan fund is a self-replenishing pool of money, utilizing interest and principle payments on old loans to issue new ones. They come in many shapes and sizes and support a variety of economic development activities. This webinar will outline the basic principles of capitalizing and managing RLFs and how to maximize their use to support businesses in Texas.
Durango & Alamosa: Revolving Loan Funds at their BestMembers only Login
Durango and Alamosa are two model success stories for using targeted revolving loan funds to promote, create, and assist businesses in their communities. Patrick Waggoner, Justin Fazzari, and Kevin Wilkins showcase how some selected business investments that have been made and outline how the RLFs work to generate economic activity and communications with the business community.
Palm Beach County Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund Program
Greg Vaday of Palm Beach County discusses how to establish a RLF within the parameters of EPA funding.
The Emerging Technology Fund Members only Login
James P. Kenney of MassDevelopment describes the Emerging Technology Fund, an RLF established to encourage growth of emerging technology companies.
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+Headlines

+Publications

Revolving Loan Fund Reference Guide
The Revolving Loan Fund Reference Guide offers an in-depth look at RLF program development, implementation and management. This guide demonstrates how a RLF program can complement economic development strategies, encourage investment and assist traditionally underserved businesses. With seven case studies of proven RLF programs and over twenty sample documents, policies, and applications, this guide covers the essential elements of operating a successful RLF program.
Practitioner's Guide to Economic Development Finance
The Practitioner's Guide to Economic Development Finance 2nd Edition is the only comprehensive resource dedicated to building and utilizing the development finance toolbox. The Practitioner's Guide provides the insight and practical information needed to critically understand how economic development is financed and the tools, strategies and techniques used to build strong communities. From bonds, tax increment finance and special districts to tax credits, seed & venture capital, revolving loan funds and much more, this Guide outlines the financing tools required for succeeding in today's competitive economic development climate.
Unlocking Capital: A Handbook for Becoming a High Performing Development Finance Agency
Unlocking Capital: A Handbook for Becoming a High Performing Development Finance Agency (Handbook) serves as a companion to the Practitioner’s Guide to help illuminate the structures of development finance agencies (DFAs), essential conduits to access development finance tools. The Handbook provides an overview of DFAs and their myriad roles in various development efforts. Included in this discussion is a comprehensive look at over a dozen high-performing DFAs throughout the country. The Handbook is designed to be a starting point for local leaders to engage in the creation or acceleration of a DFA to build and utilize the development finance toolbox.
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+Training Courses

CDFA Offers two Revolving Loan Fund courses on an annual basis.

The Intro Revolving Loan Fund Course offers an in-depth look at RLF program development, implementation and management. The course demonstrates how an RLF program can complement your economic development strategy, encourage investment and assist traditionally underserved businesses.

The Fundamentals Course will help you understand the variety of development finance tools available, from bonds, tax credits and TIF, to federal financing programs, RLFs, and access to capital lending resources.

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+Webcasts

CDFA EDA Revolving Loan Fund Webinar Series: Designing A Revolving Loan Fund Program to Meet Your Community’s Needs
The EDA Revolving Loan Fund Program helps small businesses access capital, especially when traditional lending institutions are not a good fit. The program allows for innovation, and many communities have designed their programs to meet the unique needs of their local business community. Listen as Tom Link with the URA of Pittsburgh, Michele Laird with CCD Business Development Corporation and Mara O'Neill with MCCD discuss how to design or modify a Revolving Loan Fund program to address local demand, including how to set your rate and match as well as how to target underserved businesses such as minority and women owned businesses or micro enterprises and entrepreneurs.
CDFA EDA Revolving Loan Fund Webinar Series: Maximizing Revolving Loan Fund Impact
Revolving Loan Funds (RLFs) are finance tools that can be used to help grow small and mid-sized businesses. A RLF is a funding pool that replenishes itself through repayments of principal and grows through the payment of interest. While the majority of RLFs support local businesses, some target specific areas such as health care, technology, and infrastructure. Listen as Ryan Richardson, Randy Pellisero and Lonnie Saboor explore what has made their organizations EDA Revolving Loan Fund program so successful.
CDFA EDA Revolving Loan Fund Webinar Series: Exploring the Role of Revolving Loan Funds in Economic Development
Revolving Loans Funds (RLFs) are becoming an increasingly popular financing tool, but they are sometimes misunderstood or underutilized. RLFs serve as a gap-financing measure primarily used for the development and expansion of small businesses. While the majority of RLFs support local businesses, some target specific areas, such as healthcare, minority business development, and technology focused companies. Listen as Toby Rittner, Bob Isaacson and Brett Doney explore the role of RLFs in today’s economic development landscape.
CDFA // BNY Mellon Webcast Series: Opportunities and Advancements in Water FinanceMembers only Login
During this installment of the CDFA // BNY Mellon Development Finance Webcast Series, learn from expert speakers Jordan Dorfman from the EPA, Tyler Old from PFM, John DeLuca from CoBank, and Jong Sook Nee from McManimon, Scotland & Baumann, LLC as they discuss developments in the water finance space and how different financing mechanisms like bonds, RLFs, P3s, and other tools are being used to address today’s water infrastructure projects.
CDFA // BNY Mellon Webcast Series: Immigrant & Refugee Financing StrategiesMembers only Login
This month’s CDFA // BNY Mellon Development Finance Webcast Series featured Jim Claybaugh of Opening Doors, Inc. as he discussed unlocking financing tools that support immigrants and refugees.
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CDFA National Sponsors

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  • KeyBanc Capital Markets
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  • SB Friedman Development Advisors
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  • Wells Fargo Securities
  • Wilmington Trust
  • Z. The Bond Buyer
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