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Intermediary Small-Business Lending Program

The Issue

Many small businesses need working lines of credit that help them build sustainability and growth, but this type of capital can be challenging for lenders since it is often insecure. 

The Solution

Use our Capital Access Program (CAP) 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 community development financial institutions) to create opportunities for entrepreneurs who might not otherwise qualify.


What Lenders Need to Know

  • CAP is only available through partner lenders in North Carolina. The Rural 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 $150,000
  • The Center will match up to 7 percent of monies the borrower and lending institution place in the reserve account
  • 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 the Rural Center 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 before 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.

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For the small business owner

  • Allows people who don’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
  • No associated fees
  • 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) 
  • Lines of credit eligible 
  • If the lender has a loss, they can fully recover the lost amount no matter how much money they’ve contributed to the reserve pool

Eligibility Criteria

For more information and to review additional eligibility criteria, please click here