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Revolving Loan Funds Resource Center

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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

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CDFA-EDA Revolving Loan Fund Best Practices Handbook
Throughout the CDFA EDA RLF Best Practices Program, several common characteristics emerged from high performing RLFs. The best practices outlined in this guide synthesize these exceptional traits and address the strategies employed by successful EDA...
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.

-Resources

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-EDA Revolving Loan Fund Resources

Brief On U.S. Economic Development Administration Programs and Project TypesMembers only Login
This brief analyzes U.S. EDA data from 2010 to 2019 to paint a broad picture of the agency’s programs and grantmaking activities. During this period, EDA invested an average of $361 million a year across its programs.
Revolving Loan Fund De-federalization – Implementation of the RLF ActMembers only Login
This presentation from the EDA discusses Revolving Loan Fund de-federalization and implementation of the RLF Act passed in late 2020.
CDFA-EDA Revolving Loan Fund Best Practices Handbook
Throughout the CDFA EDA RLF Best Practices Program, several common characteristics emerged from high performing RLFs. The best practices outlined in this guide synthesize these exceptional traits and address the strategies employed by successful EDA RLFs of all sizes. Each recommendation includes a basic description and several resources for expanded learning. This RLF Best Practices Handbook serves as an overview of the best practices that EDA RLF recipients should consider to maximize their lending capacity, support local businesses, and enhance the economic development financing ecosystem in their community.
COVID-19: Comprehensive Recovery Strategy
Based on the input of our 500+ members, CDFA has developed a set of policy proposals that would allow state and local governments, through development finance agencies, to be immediate problem solvers that can help alleviate the extreme economic challenges facing small businesses and communities to put America securely on the path to recovery.
CDFA EDA Revolving Loan Fund Webinar Series: Fund Recapitalization and Expansion
Fund recapitalization can come from many sources, including local, state, and federal governments or financial and philanthropic institutions. Depending on the source, there may be certain requirements that need to be satisfied when moving through the actual lending process.
View more EDA Revolving Loan Fund Resources

-EPA Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund Resources

FY 2022: Brownfields Grant GuidelinesMembers only Login
The purpose of this training webinar is to assist applicants with understanding the guidelines for Assessment Grants (Community-wide and Site-specific), Revolving Loan Fund Grants, Cleanup Grants. This document includes: a general overview, types of Available Grants, changes to the program/guidelines, application submission requirements, tips & resources, overview of threshold criteria, overview of ranking criteria, EPA Brownfield Program contacts.
Superfund Redevelopment Program Webinar Series - Opportunity Zones and Superfund SitesMembers only Login
There are over 300 Superfund National Priorities List sites and thousands of Superfund removal sites located in or partially in Opportunity Zones. This webinar discussed Opportunity Zone tax benefits in the context of redeveloping Superfund sites and other types of contaminated properties and how communities, local governments, and developers can utilize these benefits.
Brownfields: Properties with New PurposeMembers only Login
EPA’s Brownfields Program provides direct funding for brownfields assessment, cleanup, revolving loans, environmental job training, technical assistance, training, and research. To facilitate the leveraging of public resources, EPA’s Brownfields Program collaborates with other EPA programs, other federal partners and state agencies to identify and make available resources that can be used for brownfield activities.
EPA's Brownfields and Land Revitalization ProgramMembers only Login
David Lloyd from the Environmental Protection Agency provides an overview of the financing programs offered through the Office of Brownfields and Land Revitalization at the 2019 CDFA Federal Policy Conference.
View more EPA Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund Resources

-Lending Policies, Criteria, & Conditions

Incentives for Entrepreneurial FirmsMembers only Login
Many economic development organizations (EDOs) have embraced the mission to support entrepreneurial firms in their communities. EDOs engage in their entrepreneurial ecosystems, in part, by providing resources, sometimes in the form of business incentives. The purpose of this report is to provide practitioners and policymakers with insights regarding the use of these incentives and guidance for offering incentives to entrepreneurial firms.
How Innovative CDFIs Fund Equitable Food Oriented Development
This report describes how three CDFIs drive economic growth in low-income and historically marginalized communities through a model defined by the EFOD Collaborative as Equitable Food Oriented Development (EFOD). EFOD is a development approach that supports locally owned food-based economies. The report details systemic financial barriers that business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs face in marginalized communities.
CDFA-EDA Revolving Loan Fund Best Practices Handbook
Throughout the CDFA EDA RLF Best Practices Program, several common characteristics emerged from high performing RLFs. The best practices outlined in this guide synthesize these exceptional traits and address the strategies employed by successful EDA RLFs of all sizes. Each recommendation includes a basic description and several resources for expanded learning. This RLF Best Practices Handbook serves as an overview of the best practices that EDA RLF recipients should consider to maximize their lending capacity, support local businesses, and enhance the economic development financing ecosystem in their community.
Revolving Loan FundsMembers only Login
Jennifer Sherwin of the Self-Help Credit Union presents on Revolving Loan Funds in rural areas.
Hermitage Revolving Loan Fund ManualMembers only Login
The City of Hermitage, Mercer County, Pennsylvania operates an Industrial/Business Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) to provide funding assistance in the form of low-interest financing for eligible economic development projects.
View more RLF Lending Policies, Crieteria, & Conditions Resources

-Marketing Examples

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-Sample Applications

View more RLF Sample Application Resources

-Programs Map

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.

Investing in Regenerative Agriculture Infrastructure Across Value ChainsMembers only Login
Regenerative farms rely on small-to-mid scale, aligned infrastructure to process, transport, and market their products. These middle infrastructure businesses help to improve farm income and bolster regional food economies while providing significant social and environmental benefits. However, their unique business models require innovative and patient forms of capital to grow and succeed. This report identifies finance opportunities and pathways to build resilient value chains for regenerative farms.
Debunking Risk in Food System Lending
Food and agriculture-related businesses are often perceived as too risky for traditional lending approaches, yet CDFA research tells a different story. This report, with loan-level data from over a thousand funds nationwide, demonstrates that food system loans perform and that revolving loan funds can successfully support local food system borrowers in their communities.
How Innovative CDFIs Fund Equitable Food Oriented Development
This report describes how three CDFIs drive economic growth in low-income and historically marginalized communities through a model defined by the EFOD Collaborative as Equitable Food Oriented Development (EFOD). EFOD is a development approach that supports locally owned food-based economies. The report details systemic financial barriers that business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs face in marginalized communities.
Impact in Place: Emerging Sources of Community Investment Capital and Strategies to Direct It at ScaleMembers only Login
Recognizing the urgency of the pandemic and related crises, on June 7, 2021, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York approached the U.S. Impact Investing Alliance to write a report about the current landscape of capital sources for community investment and how emerging capital sources and strategies could help shape the future of the field.
CDFA Food Systems Finance Webinar Series: Financing Food-Centered Redevelopment
During this installment of the CDFA Food Systems Finance Webinar Series, we explored how investing in food-centered redevelopment can restore local food systems infrastructure, catalyze additional neighborhood development, and protect healthy, sustainable communities.
View More Case Studies

-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

Intro Revolving Loan Fund WebCourse
May 3-4, 2023
Daily: 12:00 - 5:00 PM Eastern
The Intro Revolving Loan Fund Course offers an in-depth look at RLF program development, implementation, and management. During this course, attendees learn the essential elements needed to operate a successful RLF program and discuss programs making a difference in communities throughout the country.
Register
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-Upcoming Events

SSBCI Coalition Meeting - October 21 (Virtual)
October 21, 2022
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM Eastern
SSBCI Coalition meetings will be held once a month to provide an interactive forum for CDFA members during the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) application period. CDFA will facilitate discussions that allow for networking, peer knowledge sharing, and problem solving.
SSBCI Coalition Meeting - November 18 (Virtual)
November 18, 2022
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM Eastern
SSBCI Coalition meetings will be held once a month to provide an interactive forum for CDFA members during the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) application period. CDFA will facilitate discussions that allow for networking, peer knowledge sharing, and problem solving.
SSBCI Coalition Meeting - December 16 (Virtual)
December 16, 2022
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM Eastern
SSBCI Coalition meetings will be held once a month to provide an interactive forum for CDFA members during the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) application period. CDFA will facilitate discussions that allow for networking, peer knowledge sharing, and problem solving.
Intro Revolving Loan Fund WebCourse
May 3-4, 2023
Daily: 12:00 - 5:00 PM Eastern
The Intro Revolving Loan Fund Course offers an in-depth look at RLF program development, implementation, and management. During this course, attendees learn the essential elements needed to operate a successful RLF program and discuss programs making a difference in communities throughout the country.
Register
View more Upcoming Events

-Webcasts

CDFA // BNY Mellon Development Finance Webcast Series: Unlocking Capital for BIPOC-owned BusinessesMembers only Login
During this installment of the CDFA // BNY Mellon Development Finance Webcast Series, we will be discussing creative financing approaches to minimize barriers and increase access to capital for minority-owned businesses across the country.
CDFA Food Systems Finance Webinar Series: Financing Food-Centered Redevelopment
During this installment of the CDFA Food Systems Finance Webinar Series, we explored how investing in food-centered redevelopment can restore local food systems infrastructure, catalyze additional neighborhood development, and protect healthy, sustainable communities.
Superfund Redevelopment Program Webinar Series - Opportunity Zones and Superfund SitesMembers only Login
There are over 300 Superfund National Priorities List sites and thousands of Superfund removal sites located in or partially in Opportunity Zones. This webinar discussed Opportunity Zone tax benefits in the context of redeveloping Superfund sites and other types of contaminated properties and how communities, local governments, and developers can utilize these benefits.
CDFA Reframe, Build, Plan: Restoring America's Local Food Systems
CDFA released the final publication of the CDFA Food Finance White Paper Series, Advancing Local Food Systems Through Development Finance. This webinar provides an overview of this publication as we review CDFA's framework for expanding traditional financing and attracting capital to local food systems through the Reframe, Build, Plan approach.
View More Webcasts

CDFA National Sponsors

  • BNY Mellon
  • Bricker & Eckler LLP
  • Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP
  • Business Oregon
  • CohnReznick
  • FBT Project Finance Advisors LLC
  • Frost Brown Todd LLC
  • gener8tor
  • Hawkins Delafield & Wood LLP
  • Ice Miller LLP
  • KeyBanc Capital Markets
  • Kutak Rock LLP
  • McGuireWoods
  • MuniCap, Inc.
  • NW Financial Group, LLC
  • PGAV Planners, LLC
  • Raza Development Fund
  • SB Friedman Development Advisors
  • Stern Brothers
  • Stifel Nicolaus
  • U.S. Bank
  • Wells Fargo Securities
  • Z. The Bond Buyer
Become a Sponsor