In a comment letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture today, the American Bankers Association called on USDA to strengthen its rural development guaranteed loan programs. ABA also offered support for the creation of OneRD, an initiative to combine four guaranteed loan programs — community facilities, water and waste disposal, business and industry and the Rural Energy for America program — to achieve greater operational efficiency.
Specifically, ABA recommended that USDA consider increasing flexibility on funding rural development loan programs, reintroduce preferred and certified lender programs to help streamline the loan origination process; and increase education about rural development loan programs.
“A close relationship between USDA and the banking industry provides more access to credit for farmers and rural America,” the association said. “It is important to recognize the possibility of Rural Development to be an avenue for banks to engage in public-private partnerships with USDA on both loan programs and rural infrastructure projects.”