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Missouri Treasurer Clint Zweifel was in Springfield Tuesday morning to talk about new expansions in the low-interest loan program known as the Missouri Linked Deposit Program. KSMU’s Jennifer Moore attended the press conference and has this report.
The loan program is for small businesses and farms. It’s not a new program, but recent legislation allows more people to become eligible for the loans. Speaking from the Great Southern Bank on South Glenstone, Zweifel said he believes the new eligibility rules will help jump-start the economy.
He said now, businesses or farms with up to 100 employees may apply for the loans; before, the cap was set at 25 employees.
The loan program is administered by the treasurer’s office. Here’s how it works: banks across Missouri actually sign up for the program. A business or farm owner then comes to the bank, and the bank works with the state to secure the loan.
There’s not a set, uniform interest rate for these loans. Instead, it’s based on the market: Zweifel said the interest rate on these loans generally ends up being two to three percent lower than the average rate would be.
One believer in the program is John Billings, owner and manager of Billings and Associates Fine Woodworking in Springfield.
He says when his cabinet and woodworking company first started out in 1988, he was working out of his garage. He says the loan he secured through the Missouri Linked Deposit Program enabled his business to expand.
The broadening of the loan program received bipartisan support in the legislature this year.
Zweifel, a Democrat, says the Missouri Linked Deposit Program is underused. He’s trying to spread the word that state funds are available for the low-interest loans.
For KSMU News, I’m Jennifer Moore.