REAP Lending: Over Half a Million in Loans Made

REAP loan programming had an exceptional year from July 1, 2008, to June 30, 2009. We placed 52 loans totaling $572,300 during this time frame. Of this total, one loan of $950 was placed through the Quick Grow Express Loan, 22 loans totaling $83,650 were placed with the REAP Rapid Loan, and 29 loans totaling $487,700 were placed through the REAP Direct Loan.

These loans make a substantial difference in leveraging other funds. As part of our technical assistance, we provide business planning services to REAP members. In many cases, a REAP client has completed their business plan in consultation with a REAP Business Specialist and has been able to secure a loan from a traditional lender, development district, community action agency or a local loan fund. REAP staff have also helped in “packaging” loans that include other lenders. REAP leveraged $869,200 this past year. Historically, REAP has leveraged loans totaling $10,362,605.

In 1998, we realized that we had businesses whose needs had grown beyond the REAP Peer Loan program – both new micro entrepreneurs and those who had used peer loans before. We created the REAP Direct Loan Program in response, and it became a permanent part of REAP in 2000.

The Quick Grow Loan program began on February 1, 2002, and is a collaboration between us and GROW Nebraska. This loan product was developed for exclusive use by GROW Nebraska clients. The Quick Grow Express Loan’s maximum is $5,000. It can be used for startup and existing business purposes, and features an easy borrower application process and a quick turn around.

In the fall of 2005, we introduced the REAP Online Lending System, a user friendly, web based micro-loan application. We introduced the REAP Rapid Loan at the same time – a micro loan with a $5,000 maximum limit. It serves as the pre-application for a REAP Direct Loan, which offers funds up to $35,000. The REAP Online Lending System was redesigned and re-launched in April 2009.

Our goal has always been to meet the debt financing needs of startup and existing micro entrepreneurs in rural Nebraska – individually or by collaborating with partners. The REAP Lending Program is meeting this need most effectively. We look forward to adding lending products in the future. You can view existing REAP lending products at www.cfra.org/reap/loans.