Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) like Rural Community Assistance Corporation are responding to borrowers in crisis in communities from coast to coast. Each of our organizations is fielding dozens of calls a day from borrowers struggling with how to survive lost revenue and canceled programming, how to keep people employed, and even whether to close their doors entirely. We’re providing all of the resources we can as well as developing plans to react quickly to payments issues that may arise in the next month and beyond.
In response to COVID-19’s impact and growing threat to rural America, Rural Community Assistance Corporation’s (RCAC) Loan Fund quickly began taking steps to support its borrowers who are experiencing financial strain now, or may in the near future. RCAC offered loan and interest deferments and other COVID response facilities, such as Paycheck Protection Plan loans.
Some of our activities included:
- An Alaskan fishing barge that purchases, freezes and transports Alaskan salmon to markets for resale received a six month loan covenant waiver.
- A Hawaii campground received six months deferred interest and principal payments.
- A California bed and breakfast and educational center that serves a small, rural town received a 120-day payment deferral.
In addition, the following businesses received 90-day interest and principal payment deferrals:
- A California rock climbing gym that provides recreation and safety training for climbing enthusiasts.
- A food concession trailer that sells Native American fast food at California fairs and music festivals.
- A music/Native American jewelry store in New Mexico that offers lessons, equipment and sells the only authentic artisan jewelry in the area.
- A wholesale fishing store in Nevada that provides supplies to retailers across the western states.
- A Nevada sports bar that is only able to offer takeout orders due to a statewide nonessential business shutdown.
In order to provide this kind of support to our clients in crisis — and further help them stay in business and support their employees’ health, much less plan for recovery when they’re ready to ramp back up — we need funders and investors to support us.
There are more than 1,000 CDFIs at work in all 50 states managing $185 billion in loans and investments to historically underserved small businesses, nonprofits, affordable housing projects, unbanked consumers building credit, and farms and grocery stores which provide healthy food. The value of the nationwide network of CDFIs is becoming increasingly apparent as the rollout of federal recovery measures are already running the risk of passing over the communities hit hardest by the economic fallout.