USDA Loan Program
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has guaranteed loan program available specifically to businesses in areas with a population of 50,000 or fewer residents. The loans can be used for:
business expansion or modernization
buying commercial property
acquiring a business
refinancing existing debt, and
many other uses.
IFEB is proud to be a licensed provider of USDA Business Loans. Our USDA Loan Specialist are available to assist in the application, approval, funding process.
About the USDA Program
Do I Qualify for a USDA Business Loan?
Both new and existing businesses are eligible to apply for a USDA B&I loan. The USDA sets forth a specific set of minimum requirements for businesses to qualify for a business and industry loan. The minimum criteria are below:
- Must be located in a rural area: The USDA defines this as any area other than a city with a population over 50,000 or the urbanized area of that city. You can check your business's eligibility here.
Must have U.S. citizenship or permanent residency status: This applies to individual borrowers as well as businesses (at least 51% of the business must be owned by U.S. citizens or permanent residents).
Must be an eligible type of borrower: This includes for-profit businesses, nonprofits, federally recognized tribes, public bodies and individuals.
Must have sufficient cash flow to support loan repayment
Business and its owners must have good credit history: For individuals, this means at least several years of history with a credit score of 680 or above. For businesses, this means a history of on-time payments, low credit utilization and no derogatory marks (judgments, liens, charge-offs, bankruptcies, etc).
Must have a tangible balance sheet equity position of:
- 10% for existing businesses
- 20% for new businesses
- 25% to 40% for energy projects
Completed feasibility study by an independent consultant for new businesses
Hazard, life, key person, worker’s compensation, flood and other types of insurance may be required
Personal and corporate guarantees are required
Collateral is required
You may be unfamiliar with the concept of tangible balance sheet equity position. It is a way to arrive at the equity position of your business using only tangible assets, or in other words, it is the balance sheet equity of your business minus the value of any intangible assets. Intangible assets include amortized loan costs, licenses, goodwill, customer lists, patents, copyrights, proprietary rights and trademarks.
USDA Business Loan Amounts, Terms, Rates and Fees
You and your lender will negotiate the terms of your USDA B&I loan. However, the USDA does set some specifications on amounts, terms and fees.
While there is no minimum loan amount, USDA B&I loans generally do not exceed $10 million (with some exceptions going up to $25 million or more). Most USDA business loans are between $200,000 and $5 million, with the average loan amount around $3 million. There are, however, requirements on the loan-to-value ratio, which are based on how you plan to use the funds. This also means that you'll need to make a down payment for the loan.
|Loan Use||Maximum Loan-to-Value Ratio||Down Payment|
|Equipment or machinery||70%||30%|
|Inventory, supplies or accounts receivable||60%||40%|
For example, if you plan to use the loan to purchase commercial property for $1 million, the maximum loan amount you could receive is $800,000, and you would have to put up $200,000 as a down payment.
Loan Terms and Maturities
Loan terms are negotiated by you and your lender, but the USDA does set maximum terms based on how you plan to use the loan proceeds. If the loan is for multiple purposes, your lender can make separate loans or one loan with a "blended" term.
|Loan Use||Maximum Term|
|Real estate||30 years|
|Machinery and equipment purchases||Lesser of useful life or 15 years|
|Working capital||7 years|
All USDA business loans are fully amortized, meaning that each monthly payment will be the same and there will be no balloon payments. However, borrowers can schedule interest-only payments for the first three years of the loan.
Interest Rates and Fees
Generally speaking, interest rates will be similar to those on SBA 7(a) loans. Interest rates on USDA business loans are set by your lender, with the USDA ensuring the the interest rate is reasonable compared to similar loans. Interest rates can be fixed, variable or a combination of fixed and variable. If your loan has a variable or combination rate, the rate cannot be adjusted more than once per quarter, or four times per year.
USDA business loans come with several types of fees (these fees may change):
- Initial guarantee fee: 3% of the guaranteed amount of the loan
- Annual renewal fee: 0.5% of the outstanding principal
- Bank/lender fees: Banks may charge origination fees, appraisal fees, prepayment penalties and other fees for the loan
For example, let’s say you have a $1 million loan with an 80% guarantee. This means that $800,000 of the loan is guaranteed, and your guarantee fee will be 3% of this amount, or $24,000. After a few years, maybe you’ve paid off $300,000 of the principal, leaving $700,000 in remaining principal. Your annual renewal fee for that year would be 0.5% of that amount, or $3,500.
The guaranteed amount of the loan is based on the loan amount, with the USDA guaranteeing between 60% and 80% of each B&I loan.
|Loan Amount||Maximum Guarantee|
|$5 million or less||80%|
|$5 million to $10 million||70%|
|More than $10 million||60%|
Personal Guarantees and Collateral
All business owners, partners (except limited partners) and anyone with a 20% or more share in the business is required to personally guarantee the loan. Borrowers are also required to put up collateral for the loan. The collateral is usually equal to the loan amount, not the value of the assets you are financing.
Normally, the value of the collateral will be discounted to match the loan-to-value ratio of the loan, and the discounted collateral will be equal to at least the actual dollar amount of the loan. For example, the maximum loan-to-value ratio allowed on a USDA loan for purchasing real estate is 80%. If you plan on purchasing a property for $5 million, the maximum loan you can apply for is $4 million, and $4 million is likely how much the lender will ask for in collateral.
To apply for an USDA business loan, you will need to approach a bank, credit union or lender that participates in the program (the lender does not have to be located in your area). Your lender will submit a pre-application to the USDA to determine your eligibility. If you are eligible, a representative from the USDA will meet with you and your lender to determine if the project is acceptable. If it is, you and your lender will submit a full application to the USDA. The USDA will approve or deny the application within 30 to 60 days, so total time from application to funding may take one to three months.
The USDA requires financial statements, credit reports and other documents to complete your application, including:
- A business plan
- Personal credit reports of all owners
- Business credit reports
- Resumes of business owners
- Current balance sheet
- Profit and loss statement not more than 90 days old
- Pro forma balance sheet projected for loan closing
- Balance sheet and cash flow projections for next two years
- Number of jobs created or saved and average wages
- Current personal or corporate financial statements for guarantors
- Real estate and/or environmental appraisal or review
- Feasibility study by independent consultant (new businesses only)
If your business is new or a startup, some of the financial statements and business credit documents are not required.