Applying for Rural Housing Service Community Facility Loan Online

A rural loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s community facilities loan programs allows specific local organizations or government offices in designated areas access to loans backed by or directly from the federal government for improving or building facilities such as hospitals, housing or schools. Going online can streamline the application process. The following information explains what these community facilities programs are and how to research them and apply for them online.

The USDA’s Community Facilities Programs

For designated rural communities, with “rural” defined as having fewer than 20,000 people, the U.S. Department of Agriculture makes direct loans and guarantees loans through private lenders through the Rural Housing Service. These community facilities loans can be used for improving or new construction of hospitals, housing, schools, libraries, emergency services structures and other structures needed for the community to deliver required services.

Applicants can be local governments; non-profit organizations involved with the specific activity performed in the facility, such as a non-profit hospital association; and Indian tribes.

The Rural Housing Service offers Direct Loans and Guaranteed Loans through the community facilities program. As with Small Business Administration loans, the Guaranteed Loan program allows private lenders to offer loans fitting the RHS criteria, which are backed up to 90 percent by the government. The Direct Loan Program offers money directly from the RHS.

The first online help available is determining which rural areas qualify for a rural loan through the Rural Housing Service community facilities programs. An interactive map highlights which rural communities currently qualify online.

Using the Direct Loan Program

The rural loan Direct Loan Program provides borrowed funds directly from the USDA’s Rural Housing Service. Applying for this rural loan requires a feasibility study conducted by a disinterested third party and takes 30 to 45 days to complete and get loan approval. There is no online application for the direct loan. However, you can go online to at the Rural Housing Services site to find the nearest Rural Housing Services office and eligibility requirements for the direct loan.

Finding a Guaranteed Lender

Because the rural loan through the Guaranteed Loan Program is offered through a private lender, you can begin the application process online. The first step is to find an authorized Guaranteed Loan Program participating institution. You can do this at the Rural Housing site, which maintains an updated list under the heading “Approved Underwriting Lenders.” Or you can go directly to your desired bank’s or credit union’s web site, look under the header for loans offered and determine if they offer Rural Housing Service Community Facility Loans

The Online Application

Once you have found a financial institution that participates in the Rural Housing Service Guaranteed Loan Program, you will be prompted to provide contact information and register to log in to the bank’s site. Be prepared to verify that you are an eligible borrower and to provide the usual financial information for a loan. Through the online process you can be pre-qualified for the rural loan, which streamlines the process once you go into the bank to complete the application and sign loan documents.