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February 7, 2023   /   K. Lee Graham

USDA business loans have helped thousands of rural businesses across the country start and scale operations while powering the growth of American industry. USDA business loans for renewable energies, farming, food production, and supply chain operations are recent focus areas for the USDA programs since they are aimed at creating jobs and modernizing rural economies for the next generation.

Hundreds of business owners have worked with West Town Bank & Trust’s Government Guaranteed Lending team to leverage USDA business loans as a springboard for their growth. How would you use a USDA business loan program for your next success?

Bethany College in West Virginia recapitalized its balance sheet with real estate acquisitions financed by USDA Community Facilities Loan Program.

Bethany College leveraged USDA financing to purchase parcels of real estate on its main campus in order to recapitalize its balance sheet and strengthen its financial position during a time of uncertainty for in-person academic institutions.

The Opportunity: Acquiring Real Estate as Fixed Assets

For more than 180 years, Bethany College has been a highly contemporary institution based on the tradition of the liberal arts. Bethany’s 1,300-acre campus is in the northern panhandle of West Virginia and features rolling wooded hills and a lush, green academic mall.

The College established “The Bethany Foundation” exclusively to promote and assist the educational services of Bethany College. The Foundation sought to strengthen the financial position of the College by purchasing real estate parcels on campus that the College used, but did not own, and therefore could not reap the benefits of listing as assets on its balance sheet.

The Challenge: Financial Security During a Time of Uncertainty For Academic Institutions

The pandemic had unforeseen impacts on higher education, temporarily shutting the doors of in-person classrooms and causing educators to question the long-term impacts on the format of the university classroom. The College was faced with an uncertain future for the enrollment numbers that their business model depended on.

The Solution: USDA Community Facilities (CF) Program

The CF Loan Guarantee Program provides financing up to $100 million for projects that support healthcare, public safety, education, and various other community facilities.  Eligible projects may include:

  • Covers costs for land acquisitions, professional service fees, and equipment.
  • Includes assisted living facilities, public buildings, schools, fire stations, rehabilitation centers, hospitals, and childcare centers.

Bethany College leveraged this program as an educational institution to access financing with growth-friendly terms. The loan program made it possible to purchase their real estate parcels with terms that benefitted their long-term growth.

USDA Business Loan Program Utilized:

•       $34.6MM – Community Facilities (CF) Direct
•       $5.0MM – Community Facilities (CF) Indirect

Check my eligibility for this program >>

The Result: Stronger Financial Position and Safeguarded Jobs for Employees

The Community Facilities Program allowed the College to increase its liquidity position and combine various debts into a single loan, providing long-term financial stability for the College. As a result, management was able to save local jobs, reduce operating expenses and help the College survive the COVID pandemic operationally and financially.

What would you do with affordable capital?

Check your eligibility for the USDA Community Facilities Program:

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