Nonprofit Offers Interest-Free Loans to McAllen-Based Small Businesses

As part of National Small Business Week, one area nonprofit is hoping to encourage entrepreneurs wanting to start companies within city limits with a unique deal — percent interest.

“It’s going to save them money since it’s just the principal balance that they are going to borrow, and have to pay back,” said Marlene Rodriguez, senior loan officer at LiftFund, a San Antonio-based organization with a branch office in McAllen.

Dubbed the “buy down” program, the McAllen Economic Development Corp. authorized funds from sales tax dollars to cover the interest on small business loans that create jobs within city limits.

Since its inception in 2013, Rodriguez said nearly 40 loans have been distributed throughout the city worth $680,000 to local owners. A total of 54 full-time jobs and 22 part-time jobs were created as a result of the loans between retailers, beauty salons, bakeries and even transportation companies, she said.

LiftFund on Thursday plans to hold a workshop on how to start or expand a business at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce, 1200 Ash Ave.

Often, new business owners may have difficulty obtaining their first loan, especially if the company is a startup, she said.

“Normally, to go through a traditional bank, the lender wants to see at least two years and historical financial records,” Rodriguez said.

One hurdle for some residents in the Valley is reducing debt accrued by “predatory” lenders. Some for-profit companies offer “payday loans,” where high interest rates are…

Read more at The McAllen Monitor.


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