Frequently Asked Questions
Is this a Grant?
No. All businesses receiving help from the NCWBLF are borrowers who have provided everything from business plans to equity and collateral.
How much can I borrow?
The current minimum loan is $5,000 and the maximum loan is $150,000. Under limited circumstances, based upon our portfolio status, we are able to lend up to $250,000.
Are the rates better than the bank?
Rates are a direct reflection of the risk involved in the loan. We do not compete with banks. We work in partnership with them and are involved in loans ONLY when one of three things happens. Either the bank turns down the loan, or the rate and terms offered mean that the project does not cover its debt service, or the bank can loan a portion of the project but needs a partner to cover a financial gap.
What is a financial gap?
You need $100,000 to complete a business start-up/expansion and can only secure $80,000 through various sources. You have a “financial gap” of $20,000.
Can I get a loan with a poor credit history?
All loans are subject to review. If there is a reasonable explanation for poor credit history, coupled with recent problem-free credit, or there is a substantial collateral position offered, it may still be possible to offer the loan. Each loan is judged on its own merit and is not subject to point scoring.
I know my business will work – why do I need to submit a business plan?
95% of borrowers find that the business plan process allows them to discover areas of their business they had not previously considered. A Business Plan Outline is provided for your assistance. By reviewing cash flow projections, it is possible to see in advance whether pricing is adequate to really grow a business or whether other options need to be considered
Can I get help developing my business plan?
Although the NCWBLF does not provide direct counseling, we work closely with a variety of agencies and organizations who provide assistance to borrowers going through the loan application process. (See links below)
Okanogan County Council for Economic Development;
Small Business Development Center – Chelan County;
Small Business Development Center – Okanogan County;
Small Business Development Centers – Nationwide;
Service Corps of Retired Executives; and
Washington State Office of Trade and Economic Development
How do I qualify for funding?
You must answer “yes” to these basic requirements to be considered for funding:
- Is the majority owner in the business a U.S. Citizen?
- Is the business physically located within the 3-county service district? This includes Chelan, Douglas, Okanogan Counties, and the Colville Reservation. Please note: the City of Wenatchee is not included in our service district.
- Does the business start-up/expansion create or retain jobs?
- Do I have a sound business plan?
- Can I present collateral equal to the loan request? Collateral may include non-business related assets such as life insurance, personal property, home equity etc.
- Can I provide 25% equity in the project? Since “the project” is considered to encompass the entire business operations, including historical investment in equipment, software, patents, trademarks, tangible and intangible assets–equity can come from a variety of sources.
- Do I have all necessary business licenses, titles and permits?
How long are the loan terms?
The terms vary depending upon the type of loan. In general, working capital is loaned on a 3-5 year term; equipment/fixed asset loans range from 7-10 year terms; and real estate is available on a 15-20 year term.
Do you refinance existing loans?
Generally no. Not if the reason is simply to negotiate rates or terms.
When can I get my money?
The speed of funding approval and disbursement depends in large part on how complete your application package is and the quality of your business plan. Other variables include the need for an environmental review, delays in appraisal, clouds on titles, and negotiations with sellers or suppliers.
Is this run by the government?
The NCWBLF is a private, non-profit corporation. Because the NCWBLF borrows federal funds made available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, loans must comply with all guidelines established by the USDA and all terms set forth through the Intermediary Relending Program (IRP).
Who do I contact if I have any questions?
The North Central Washington Business Loan Fund office is located at 410 East Woodin Avenue in Chelan. The mailing address is PO Box 3032, Chelan,WA 98816. Our Executive Director or Loan Officer can also be reached by phone at (509) 860-4330 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org