Microloan program designed to promote growth, business

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013 2:47 p.m. CDT

BERWYN – For Berwyn business owners in need of a cash infusion but who are short on time, the Berwyn Development Corporation’s (BDC) Microloan Program may be made to order.

The program, operated in conjunction with the city of Berwyn, is designed to provide loans from $1,000 to $10,000 to assist existing businesses in good-standing, as well as to encourage new business projects within the city limits. The Microloan Program became available Aug. 1.

Approved by Berwyn’s City Council on May 28, the program is administered by the BDC Commercial Loan Commission.

The Microloan Program joins the city’s existing Commercial Loan Program, which also provides incentives to existing commercial property owners and business tenants to renovate and/or expand their operations, and for new businesses to locate in Berwyn.

The Microloan Program provides funding for a variety of uses, such as start-up costs, the purchase of equipment, working capital expenses and facility rehabilitation.

The program offers an expedited process for loan decisions. Typically, it takes between four to six weeks from the time an application is submitted to when a decision is made.

BDC Executive Director Anthony Griffin said about six people have expressed interest to date. A greater effort to advertise the program will be made through the BDC magazine, meetings and a direct mailer to all businesses in coming weeks.

According to Griffin, one of the applicants is looking to secure a loan so she can increase her inventory for the upcoming holiday season.

“We created the program out of interest from entrepreneurs and Berwyn businesses for a faster process and lower fees [to securing a loan],”Griffin said. “It supplements other tools we have. We really needed a tool that was a little faster.”

The loan program works like any other underwriting process, Griffin added, and the BDC has the expertise of its own staff as well as seven banks, including Citizen Community Bank, Aztec America, Forest Park National, Community Bank of Oak Park-River Forest, MB Financial, Pan American Bank and BMO Harris Bank.

So why would someone go to the BDC for a loan instead of a banking institution?

“Typically, [a loan] would be [available at] a much higher rate,” Griffin said. “Our rate is 7 percent in Berwyn, as opposed too as much as 12 percent.”

Information about the the Microloan or Commercial Loan Programs is available by calling Elisa Sledzinska at 708-788-8100.

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