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Rural Center to spur small-business loans

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PJ staff report

RALEIGH, N.C. – As part of a federal effort to stimulate job growth in the small-business sector, the N.C. Rural Center will launch a program to make borrowing easier for North Carolina companies with 500 or fewer employees.

By supporting loan-loss reserves, the North Carolina Capital Access Program aims to make it easier for banks and other financial institutions to lend to small businesses that otherwise would not qualify for loans.

The state received $46.1 million from the federal government as part of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, and Gov. Beverly Perdue chose the Rural Center to administer the program.

“In all my conversations with small business leaders across North Carolina, I’ve heard common concerns,” Perdue says in a statement. “They can’t grow or put people back to work until they have access to credit.”

Through banks, credit unions and community-development financial institutions, businesses can borrow up to $5 million for working capital or to purchase land or equipment, or construct or renovate buildings.

A similar federally-backed program that ran from 1994 to 2008 resulted in 1,850 loans that led to the creation or retention of 27,000 jobs.

Beginning early next year, the Rural Center will hold workshops across the state for lenders interested in participating in the program.

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