Community Express
An Innovative Loan Program for Small Businesses

Even in the best of economies, some entrepreneurs may find it difficult to obtain the financing necessary to turn their ideas into profitable businesses. The Community Express program offers these businesses an innovative solution.

Community Express combines the lending expertise and capital of commercial banks, technical assistance from a designated Financial Services Intermediary (The Business Resource Group) along with the SBA's enhanced loan guarantee, to help entrepreneurs whom might not otherwise qualify and obtain financing for their businesses. The technical assistance component, adds value to the loan application process, by better preparing the applicant to qualify for the requested loan. Technical assistance (TA) also offers ongoing support to aid the business to reach its goals and objectives, after the loan is funded.

Loan proceeds under Community Express may be used for most business purposes, including start-up, expansion, equipment purchases, working capital, inventory or real estate acquisitions.

Who Is Eligible?
Community Express loans are available to persons who meet the normal requirements for an SBA business loan guaranty, but cannot qualify without additional help. CommunityExpress loan applicants must also --
• be located in one of the specially designated areas, or
• be identified as New Markets small businesses,. (owned by minorities, women, or veterans, who are underrepresented in the population of small business owners compared to their percentage in the overall population.)

How Does the Program Work & What Is a SBA Guaranty?
All SBA Community Express Loans are processed through an approved Financial Services Intermediary and TA Provider, who provides both pre-and-post loan technical assistance to qualified applicants. The financial services intermediary evaluates the loan package, the company's strengths and weaknesses, and documents the businesses ongoing support needs, prior to forwarding the loan request to its selected SBA-participating Community Express lender. The lender uses more flexible loan analysis and documentation procedures in order to simplify and expedite the approval process. The Business Resource Group works with the applicant and lender each step of the way. After bank approval, completed loan applications, are submitted to the SBA in Sacramento, California, with a typical response to the lenders, within 36 hours.

The SBA guaranty encourages lenders to make loans that they otherwise might not make on their own. The SBA's CommunityExpress guaranty levels are 85 percent on loans of $150,000 or less and 75 percent on loans of more than $150,000. The maximum loan amount under CommunityExpress is $250,000.

Terms, Interest Rates and Fees
Interest rates are negotiated between the borrower and the lender and are tied to the Wall Street Journal prime rate, which may not exceed 2.75 percent over the prime rate. Maturities on Community Express loans are generally five to ten years. Loans for fixed-assets can be up to 25 years. Community Express revolving loans, however, are limited to a maturity of seven years.

Technical Assistance (TA)
Because many New Markets small businesses face unique problems and challenges, the Community Express Program also includes pre- and post-loan closing assistance in the form of marketing, financial management and planning assistance. The Business Resource Group supplies the technical assistance.

Community Express FACT SHEET