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Capital Access Program

Please note that we are in the process of launching a new iteration of this program which is described below. We anticipate it becoming available for use by our lending partners in November 2022. 

The Capital Access Program (CAP) is a small-business credit enhancement program that works with local lenders across North Carolina to help expand access to capital and secure lines of credit.

Small Businesses Face Barriers When Seeking Financing

Many small businesses need working lines of credit as they are critical to sustainability and growth, but this type of capital can be challenging for lenders as it is risky and often insecure. Lenders typically take deposits as collateral, but CDFIs cannot provide that much capital. cannot meet the underwriting credentials to qualify for traditional capital.

The CAP Solution

Utilize our Capital Access Program to obtain matching loan loss reserves. Funds are deposited into a pooled Loan Loss Reserve account at the participating institution, allowing local lenders (banks, credit unions, and CDFIs) to create capital opportunities for entrepreneurs who might not otherwise qualify and de-risk those transactions.

What Lenders Need to Know

  • CAP is only available through partner lenders in all of North Carolina’s 100 counties. The Center can not directly administer loans to entrepreneurs. Loans must be applied for through our partner lenders. 
  • Partner lenders who participated in the first iteration of CAP will need to create new applications for this round of funding. 
  • Any qualifying loan to a business with fewer than 500 employees can be enrolled. 
  • The maximum loan amount is $5 million. 
  • The Center will match up to 6.5% of monies the borrower and lending institution place in the Reserve account, for a total of up to 13% of each loan amount.
  • The minimum contribution per loan by the borrower/lender is 2%, all of which can be required from the borrower.
  • All contributions into the Reserve made by the lending institution, borrower, and NCRC aggregate to the benefit of the portfolio of loans the lending institution has chosen to place in the CAP program.
  • A lender must enter into a Master Loan Participation Agreement with the Rural Center prior to participating in the program. 
  • Partner lenders are responsible for approving and servicing all loans.


In addition to helping promote economic development and create jobs in North Carolina, the SSBCI Capital Access Program benefits both small businesses and lenders.

For the small business owner:

  • Allows people who didn’t have the normal collateral to get a loan
  • Loans may be used to finance most business purposes, including owner-occupied real estate, construction, equipment, and working capital
  • There are no fees associated with this program
  • Lines of credit eligible

For the lender:

  • Reduces risk of loss
  • Allows approval of loans that would normally be outside the credit box (addressing any credit issues) – higher risk could enroll in this program
  • Lines of credit eligible 
  • Enrolling loans into the reserve pool increases the overall size of that reserve pool, which can be tapped into if the loan isn’t paid back. If the lender has a loss, they can claim that loss no matter what they’ve put in, allowing for full recoup of the loan.

For more information and to review additional eligibility criteria, please stay tuned as we are updating our materials. To contact us for more information in the interim, please click here