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What is a Loan Participation Program?

The Loan Participation Program works with local lenders across North Carolina to help expand access to capital. The Rural Center has managed the program as part of its SSBCI portfolio since it launched in 2011, partnering with banks, community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and other institutional lenders to help small businesses grow.

If you are a bank, credit union, or certified CDFI and are interested in taking advantage of this program, click here to contact us.

We are eligible to make loans in every county in North Carolina. Special program features are available to borrowers who qualify as historically socially or economically disadvantaged individuals. These include rural people, people of color, women, veterans, and people in disadvantaged communities.

A lab where two women look through a microscope.

How Does Loan Participation Work?

Many small- and medium-sized businesses lack the collateral or cash equity needed to meet institutional lenders’ minimum credit requirements. That prevents approval of their loan requests.

Our loan participation program infuses capital into eligible deals, allowing lenders to move forward on loans that would normally be outside of their normal underwriting guidelines. Lenders are paid back first in our program, reducing their exposure to potential loss. The result of our participation in these loans with our partners is a larger loan and often better terms for the borrower and decreased risk for the lender. Everyone benefits by creating new or expanded businesses.

The Rural Center can invest as little as $30,000 in an individual borrower through this program and as much as $800,000.


Innovation Brewing 

SYLVA - On a warm afternoon in October of 2017, Nicole Dexter and Chip Owen threw a party.

A band played mellow folk tunes. People dug into Oktoberfest-themed food, including juicy brats. Dexter and Owen handed out a couple hundred pairs of black-and-white plastic sunglasses.

And—this being a brewery and all—there was plenty of beer.

Dexter and Owen were celebrating the four-year anniversary of Innovation Brewing, the downtown Sylva business they built from scratch. Guests clutching pint glasses of hoppy beer filled the Jackson County taproom and spilled outside. Next door, in the adjoining space previously occupied by another business, Innovation Brewing will expand to offer more room for visitors—and a wood-fired pizza oven to fill their hungry stomachs.


For more information

For more information, please review and download the following materials. To contact us for more information in the interim, please click here.

Our Lending Partners

Here is a list of community banks, credit unions, and community development financial institutions participating in our Loan Participation Program. Our lending partners have been vetted and share our goal of helping North Carolina small businesses thrive. Please click below to learn about each of them.