April 16, 2012 — Southern Illinois Coal Belt Champion Community, Inc. (SICBCC), doing business as Champion Community Investments, is pleased to announce the closing of a $1 million loan from the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development. This loan fund is made possible by a partnership between the Cities of Carbondale and Du Quoin, as well as SICBCC and USDA Rural Development.The program will provide $1,050,000 in low interest loan funds to businesses in Carbondale and Du Quoin. The communities will split the total, providing each community’s businesses with a $525,000 loan fund. Each city contributed $25,000 in match to the project.
Du Quoin and Carbondale businesses will be able to borrow up to $150,000 at a 5% interest rate for purposes that include real estate acquisition, construction and renovation, inventory, debt refinancing, and other business-related uses. Through various loan programs, SICBCC has made 35 loans to 33 businesses that total $2.1 million. With private leverage approaching $7 million, SICBCC has participated in projects that total nearly $9 million. Commercial lenders have been particularly supportive partners in SICBCC loans, which is a trend that is expected to continue with the new loan fund.
The Champion Community has worked closely with USDA for over ten years. It has been a productive and enduring relationship. Rex Duncan is president of the SICBCC Board of Directors. “We are very grateful to a terrific USDA Rural Development staff in this state,” Duncan said. “The success of SICBCC has been built on collaboration, including communities, counties, agencies, and individuals who are focused on rebuilding southern Illinois one business at a time.”
Duncan said part of the success SICBCC has enjoyed with its low interest loan programming is grounded in fundamentals. He recommends interested businesses work with public accountants or the Small Business Development Centers at either Southern Illinois University Carbondale or Rend Lake College for assistance in applying for loans.
SICBCC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that provides economic and community development assistance in Jefferson, Franklin, Perry, Williamson, and Jackson Counties. The organization is overseen by an unpaid board of directors that is regionally representative. For more information about SICBCC, contact Rex Duncan at 618.713.6320 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For information about SICBCC loan programming, contact Jeff Ashauer at 618.357.2940 or email@example.com.