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State Small Business Credit Initiative

The Loan Participation Program and Capital Access Program were two of three programs managed by the Rural Center under the State Small Business Credit Initiative, established by the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 and funded by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The state of North Carolina entered into a contract with the Rural Center to design, launch, and manage the initiative. All 50 states managed a Small Business Credit Initiative, using federal funds to spur small-business lending in their particular state.

When the federal program sunset in 2017, North Carolina’s program:

  • Ranked second in the nation (only after California) in private financing leveraged, $707 million, with 15 private dollars for every federal program dollar invested,
  • Created or retained 12,500 total jobs throughout the state,
  • Used 21 percent of dollars in low-to-moderate income tracts,
  • Featured six of the top-fifty partner banks (by dollar amount loaned and number of loans) in the nation,
  • And also featured two of the top twenty-five partner CDFIs (in dollar amount loaned and number of loans) in the nation.

Approximately 39% of SBCI transactions were in rural North Carolina counties.

The programs created with the launch of the SBCI continue today and are being managed by the Rural Center to be evergreen. As of December 31 2019, more than $37 million of funds have been recycled into new transactions.

Loan Participation Program

The Rural Center’s Loan Participation Program (LPP) is a uniquely tailored small-business lending program that works with local lenders across North Carolina to help make more loans in their communities and region. By helping to reduce the risk-exposure of partner lenders, LPP means more North Carolina businesses have access to capital that might otherwise be out of reach. That means more jobs for North Carolina and more support to help local small businesses grow.

LPP is available through partner lenders in all of North Carolina’s 100 counties. Under the program, the Rural Center purchases up to 15 percent of a term loan made to a small business, defined as a business with 500 or fewer employees. The maximum participation is $250,000 and the terms of the loan are market-based, negotiated between the local lender and the small-business borrower.

The program has been well received—particularly by community banks—as it allows them to make good loans that may not meet their collateral requirements.


Meet some of North Carolina’s small-business owners helped by LPP:

Impact Stories: CEA Manufacturing

Impact Stories: CEA Manufacturing

“This loan allowed us to jump to the next level in our capabilities." -Steve Yauch It’s quiet here, perhaps surprisingly so, on the manufacturing floor of CEA Manufacturing’s 55,000-square-foot headquarters in Smithfield. The room is brightly-lit and spotless....


LPP is a user-friendly designed program with minimal forms, no additional fees, and quick turnarounds. Once the lender closes the loan, the lender services the total loan and maintains its relationship with the borrower, forwarding the Rural Center’s pro-rata principal and interest as collected.

If you are lender interested in participating in the Rural Center’s Loan Participation Program, learn how your organization can partner with us.


Participating Lenders

  • American National Bank and Trust
  • Bank of Oak Ridge
  • Benchmark Community Bank
  • Blue Harbor Bank
  • Carolina Trust Bank
  • Community First Bank
  • Dogwood State Bank
  • Entegra Bank, A division of First Citizens Bank
  • First Bank
  • First Citizens Bank and Trust
  • First National Bank
  • KS Bank, Inc.
  • Mountain Biz Capital, Inc.
  • Natural Capital Investment Fund, Inc.
  • North State Bank
  • Park National Bank
  • Pinnacle Financial Partners
  • Select Bank & Trust
  • South State Bank
  • Southern First Bank
  • Towne Bank
  • United Community Bank
  • Uwharrie Bank


Get a Loan

Borrowers should contact their local lender to be considered for the program.


Capital Access Program

Effective December 31, 2019, the Capital Access Program has been suspended and no further loans will be accepted for enrollment. The agreements in place with existing partner lenders remain in force, and claims under those agreements may be made using this claim form

The Capital Access Program (CAP) is available through partner lenders in all 100 North Carolina counties. Any qualifying loan to a business with fewer than 500 employees can be enrolled. Borrowers should contact a participating lender to be considered for the program.

Under the CAP program, the borrower and the lender contribute a total of between two and seven percent of the loan amount, and the Rural Center matches this amount dollar-for-dollar. These funds grow to create a reserve account at each participating lender to be used to offset losses on enrolled loans, thus helping offset the lender’s risk.

The extra assurance means local and regional lenders are more confident to make loans to businesses in need or otherwise cut off from critical capital. And that means more North Carolina small businesses surviving, growing, and thriving.

Participating CAP Loans enrolled tend to be smaller than $100,000 and are often lines of credit. The lender uses its standard underwriting process and determines loan terms. It then submits the required enrollment paperwork to the Rural Center, which then reviews the submission for program compliance.