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Treasurer announces $500 million loan program to boost business and rural growth

ALTON – Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs today announced a loan program that commits $500 million in new money to flow through local banking institutions to help individuals obtain loans at below-market rates.

frerichs mike1“I was born and raised in the small community of Gifford and know first-hand the importance of providing a financial opportunity for rural Illinois to sustain, grow, and spur economic development,” Frerichs said. “We will provide money to local lenders so they can offer loans at below-market rates to help our rural families achieve the American Dream.”

Frerichs was at the National Great Rivers Museum in Alton today to introduce the program to the Metro East area. Joining him was the Illinois Realtors President, Matt Difanis, and officials from local lending institutions, including Guardian Savings Bank.

As Illinois treasurer, Frerichs is the state’s chief investment officer. A key objective in Frerichs’ office is to invest money in a manner that supports community development while meeting its primary investment objectives of safety, liquidity and return on investment.

The $500 million will fund the newly developed Community Uplift Program. It will provide money to lending institutions specifically to fund business growth or expansion. The capitalization also will support the already popular Ag Invest program that helps family farmers and the Finally Home program that supports those who might not qualify for a traditional mortgage product. Finally Home can be used for first-time homebuyers.

The Community Uplift, Ag Invest and Finally Home programs fall under Frerichs’ new Invest in Rural Illinois initiative that aims to raise awareness in the lending community of the state treasurer’s responsibility to capitalize lending institutions at below-market rates. These institutions, in turn, use the money to provide loans to local businesses and individuals. In Illinois, there are more than 300 lending institutions pre-qualified to participate. By growing this number, Frerichs said, more assistance can be provided to rural Illinois.

“Our rural neighbors know the honor that comes with helping families who want to help themselves,” Frerichs said. “Encouraging local banks and lending institutions to participate in these lending programs will help strengthen rural Illinois.”

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