Rio Grande Guardian | By Steve Taylor
LiftFund and the City of McAllen are offering zero percent interest small business loans to McAllen business owners.
LiftFund is a nonprofit loan fund committed to empowering small businesses with limited access to traditional sources of credit.
Marlene Rodriguez, a loan officer at LiftFund, said the goal is to be a sustainable organization that contributes to economic development by providing small business loans, as well as other essential services to our borrowers.
In a conversation on Zoom, Rodriguez said the zero percent interest loans are available for small businesses who do not have access to acquire loans from traditional sources.
She said existing businesses that are ready to expand and startup businesses within the city limits of McAllen may apply for these funds.
Asked when small businesses can apply, Rodriguez said: “Funds are currently available now until they are depleted. However, LiftFund offers other loan program for small business owners in our community.”
Asked how much money can a small business borrow and how long they have to pay it back, Rodriguez said:
“This will vary according to the small business needs and the size of the loan. In addition to this zero percent interest loan program with the City of McAllen, LiftFund offers other lending options that range from $500 to $500,000.”
Rodriguez said LiftFund also partners with the Small Business Administration to provide the Community Advantage loan and the SBA 504, which can fund large projects up to $5 million.
“We recommend that the business owners begin an application online at www.LiftFund.com to begin the process, or set up an appointment to discuss their business needs and lending options,” Rodriguez said.
Asked how long a business has to have been operating to qualify, Rodriguez said: “We extend loans to start-ups and existing businesses.”
Some businesses need not apply. Rodriguez said those in the adult entertainment businesses, businesses engaged in lending, or property investment, finance companies, mortgage companies, check-cashing business, or any speculative businesses will not be approved.
Asked what involvement the City of McAllen has in the program, Rodriguez said: “We have had a great relationship with the City of McAllen since we first opened our office in 1998. Since 2013, we have provided $3.9 million in zero percent interest loans to 152 small businesses through our partnership with the City of McAllen.”
Since opening its office in McAllen in 1998 to serve the entire Rio Grande Valley, LiftFund and its predecessor, Accion Texas has provided more than 5,500 small business loans totaling $76.9 million in funding.