REAP Online Loans

Launched in the fall of 2005, the REAP Online Lending System has greatly improved the Center’s outreach and ability to work with entrepreneurs across rural Nebraska. REAP is our acclaimed full-service, statewide rural small business development program. It offers loans, training, technical assistance, and networking for micro businesses, defined as those with five or fewer employees.

The switch to an online loan application has increased the time efficiency of REAP staff in assembling paperwork and has provided greater access to loans for businesses in every rural area in Nebraska. Implications of the growth in online lending for the microenterprise field have included better access to capital and technical assistance for micro businesses, improved staff capacity and timeliness of service, and increased client numbers.

“The Center’s REAP program continually strives to achieve maximum scale in Nebraska on a statewide rural basis,” said Jeff Reynolds, REAP Program Director. Jeff added, “The REAP Online Lending System is another tool in reaching as many entrepreneurs needing small business loans as possible and, at the same time, improving the overall capacity and efficiency of the REAP program.”

The REAP Online Lending System includes a web-based micro-loan application that is user friendly. For REAP loans up to $10,000, the online application serves as the complete loan application. For REAP loans from $10,001 to $35,000, additional steps are required, and the online application serves as a pre-application.

REAP staff were involved throughout the development process providing ideas on how this system might work. The first two years of operation have been pilot years, with the understanding that the system would need to be improved and enhanced. As a whole, the system has been accessible and has worked very well. Only a few technical glitches have arisen along the way, and any problems have been easily resolved.

The online loan system is currently being enhanced, which will provide for smoother overall operation and easier application navigation for borrowers. If you are a rural Nebraska entrepreneur, you can check it out at www.cfra.org/reap. Select the “Online Lending System” option from the menu on the left.

The online process improves turnaround time, frees more staff time for technical assistance, and streamlines the time involved overall, which benefits both the entrepreneur and REAP. The Center very much wants to help rural businesses succeed. Rural communities are strengthened by developing small, self-employed businesses.

It is also the reason REAP strives for continuous improvements and processes like the online lending system.

Contact: Jeff Reynolds, REAP Program Director at 402.656.3091 or jeffr@alltel.net for more information.





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