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Revolving Loan Fund Resource Center

Learn More About This Tool

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.


Learn more about Revolving Loan Funds

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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.

CDFA // BNY Mellon Webcast Series: Strategies to Support Your Local Venture Capital Ecosystem
During this installment of the CDFA // BNY Mellon Webcast Series, Lamont Price with the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, Teela Spiller with the Atlanta Micro Fund, and Eric Clement with the NYCEDC highlighted several development finance programs that have proven effective in attracting venture and start-up capital.
When the Deal Goes Bad - Denver Region
Jeff Christensen 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.
When the Deal Goes Bad - Denver 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 - Denver 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 - Denver Region
Mike O'Donnell and Marie Peters focus 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.
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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.

Innovative Revolving Loan FundsMembers only Login
Ray D'Agostino with the Lancaster Housing Opportunity Partnership presents on innovative RLFs.
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.
Strategically Reacting to an Identified Community/Economic Development Finance Need: The Akron Community Revitalization FundMembers only Login
Chris Burnham with the Development Finance Authority of Finance Authority of Summit County discusses a loan program dedicated to the revitalization of his community.
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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: Strategies for Addressing Non-Performance and Loan Defaults
Successful RLF programs always make every attempt to craft a good loan. Some businesses, though, will inevitably struggle to repay. How your fund handles loans and borrowers during this difficult period can help minimize losses and maximize recovery. As part of the CDFA EDA RLF Best Practices Program, this webinar highlighted a variety of corrective action strategies and proactive approaches that can successfully reduce defaults. Speakers on this webinar included Amanda Peterson with Colorado Lending Source, Michelle Beecher with Rural Nevada Development Corporation, and Rachel Baldini with First state Community Loan Fund.
CDFA EDA Revolving Loan Fund Webinar Series: Solutions for Revolving Loan Fund Servicing
Awarding the loan is just the beginning of a longer process. In order to be successful, RLF staff must maintain regular communication with the borrower and provide ongoing loan servicing. Many RLFs have found success in building partnerships with professional lending institutions to manage their loan servicing while others prefer to maintain the servicing in-house. Speakers on this webinar included Mitchell Harrison with the U.S. Economic Development Administration, Harry Allen with CDFA, Amanda Ruark with Buffalo Trace Area Development District, and Amir Kirkwood with Amalgamated Bank.
CDFA EDA Revolving Loan Fund Webinar Series: Utilizing the Toolbox Approach
Hundreds of development finance programs exist at the federal, state, and local level. These programs have been created to address the financing needs of business, industry, real estate, housing, environmental and community development entities. Individually, none of these programs are a silver bullet solution to economic development challenges. The toolbox approach brings together the best of these financing concepts and techniques to provide a comprehensive response to capital and resource needs. Listen as Toby Rittner with the Council of Development Finance Agencies discusses the various development finance tools that can be utilized to enhance the efforts of your Revolving Loan Fund.
CDFA EDA Revolving Loan Fund Webinar Series: Staffing and Day to Day Management Approaches
Staffing a Revolving Loan Fund requires a team of financial specialists and dedicated sources of revenue. In one approach – best for funds issuing a higher volume of loans – each team member is responsible for a different stage of the lending process. An alternative approach assigns each loan to an individual who monitors it from beginning to end. Revenue sources can be diverse, but generally staff are supported by the interest charged on loans. Listen as Jennifer Hibbard, Robyn Jacobson and Michelle Beecher discuss strategies for developing RLF staff and implementing effective management policies.
CDFA EDA Revolving Loan Fund Webinar Series: Developing a Loan Committee and Monitoring Their Involvement
Revolving Loan Fund committees are essential to a program’s success. If properly leveraged, the RLF Committee can be a key resource in finding borrowers for your RLF program and making good decisions for sustainability of the fund. Many successful loan committees are made up of bankers, non-traditional lenders, city officials and small business owners alike. It is essential that RLF staff have guidelines in place to monitor and encourage board involvement. Speakers on this webinar included Terry Hegle with Business Oregon, Ken Pearson with Northwest Regional Planning Commission, and Tricia Wilson and Carol Meredith with the City of Newport News, VA.
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CDFA National Sponsors

  • Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority
  • Baker Tilly Virchow Krause
  • BNY Mellon
  • Bricker & Eckler LLP
  • Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP
  • Business Oregon
  • CohnReznick
  • FBT Project Finance Advisors LLC
  • Fifth Third Bank
  • Frost Brown Todd, LLC
  • Hawkins Delafield & Wood LLP
  • Ice Miller LLP
  • KeyBanc Capital Markets
  • Kutak Rock LLP
  • McCarter & English, LLP
  • McGuireWoods
  • MuniCap, Inc.
  • NW Financial Group, LLC
  • SB Friedman Development Advisors
  • Stern Brothers
  • Stifel Nicolaus
  • U.S. Bank
  • Wells Fargo Securities
  • Wilmington Trust
  • Z. The Bond Buyer
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