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Rural Economic Development Resource Directory

This directory provides descriptions and contact information for a number of organizations and Web sites that can provide resources to national banks and federal savings associations interested in lending, investing, or providing retail financial services in rural communities. These activities are organized under following:

Commercial Lending


Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund stimulates the creation and expansion of CDFIs by providing incentives to traditional banks and thrifts through the Bank Enterprise Act awards program. The CDFI Fund also provides relatively small infusions of capital to institutions that serve distressed communities and low-income individuals. Technical assistance grants are also provided to strengthen the capacity of community development financial institutions. Banks and thrifts can partner with CDFIs to better meet borrower needs.


Small Business Administration (SBA) administers direct loan and loan guarantee programs for developing and expanding small businesses. Additionally, the SBA administers the Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) designed to offer business development assistance to entrepreneurs. SBA's Web site contains information on: 


Farm Bill Broadband Loans & Loan Guarantee: This is a Rural Utilities Service Program. The Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program (Broadband Program) furnishes loans and loan guarantees to provide funds for the costs of construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide service at the broadband lending speed in eligible rural areas.

Historic Investment by USDA: USDA is making a historic $78 million investment in local and regional food systems, including food hubs, farmers markets, aggregation and processing facilities, distribution services, and other local food business enterprises. The 2014 Farm Bill includes investments in support of local food give farmers and ranchers more market opportunities, provide consumers with more choices, and create jobs in both rural and urban communities. $48 million in loan guarantees for local food projects is now available through USDA's Rural Development's Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan Program, and $30 million is available through competitive grants via the Agricultural Marketing Service's (AMS) Farmers Market and Local Foods Promotion Program.

The National Council of State Agricultural Finance Programs (NCOSAFP) provides national representation for states that operate finance programs for farmers, ranchers and the agricultural industry. Organized in November 1984, the NCOSAFP is a non-profit organization that provides a forum for sharing ideas and serves as an information clearinghouse for its member state agencies and the general public they serve. The council is also involved in the promotion and support of rural economic development programs. Through the Aggie Bond program, the participating state coordinates the creation of a bond that allows lenders to earn federally-tax exempt interest income on loans to eligible beginning farmers and ranchers.

USDA Business and Cooperative Programs - Promoting a dynamic business environment in rural America is the goal of Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBS), Business Programs (BP). BP works in partnership with the private sector and community-based organizations to provide financial assistance, through grants and loans, and business planning. BP helps fund projects that create or preserve quality jobs and/or promote a clean rural environment. The financial resources of RBS BP are often leveraged with those of other public and private credit source lenders to meet business and credit needs in underserved areas. Recipients of these programs may include individuals, corporations, partnerships, cooperatives, public bodies, nonprofit corporations, Indian tribes, and private companies.

USDA's Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program provides business and industry loan guarantees up to 90 percent of a loan made by a commercial lender. Loan proceeds may be used for working capital, machinery and equipment, buildings and real estate, and certain types of debt refinancing. The primary purpose is to create and maintain employment and improve the economic climate in rural communities.

USDA Rural Development Business and Industry Guaranteed Loans (PDF) (Community Developments Fact Sheet, February 2010) Learn about a program that guarantees loans made by eligible lenders to rural businesses

USDA Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program, launched in June of 2010, is investing $45.1 million for 2010 in organizations that provide training, technical assistance or make small loans to new and existing rural small businesses. The program makes awards quarterly to organizations that give technical assistance and/or small loans to rural small business owners, facilitate access to capital and access to services for rural microenterprises and develop rural entrepreneurs. Organizations eligible to apply for funding include nonprofits, public institutions of higher education, and tribal governments that are not served by a nonprofit development organization. If you are a small business owner looking for training, technical assistance or financing, or a banker or thrift looking for a local lending partner, there is a directory to find a program in your area. In October of 2010 the Department of Agriculture announced funding recipients in 36 states. The list of states with local organizations and funding levels can be found at USDA.

US Department of the Treasury

OCC’s Strategies for Leveraging the State Small Business Credit Initiative (February 2013)
This issue explores how banks and thrifts can use the SSBCI Program to help meet the needs of small business borrowers.

The Universities of Vermont has published "The Guide to Financing the Community Supported Farm". The guide details options and considerations for crafting unconventional financial arrangements that have been used in other sectors of the economy, but might be new to the agricultural sector. The 62-page guide addresses legal, accounting, environmental and social considerations relevant to pursuing customized financial agreements, and contains examples of farms that have used alternative financing. Download a free copy here.

Community Revitalization


CRA Regulators, Joint Final Rule – Effective January 19, 2011, provides CRA credit for supporting Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) projects. The regulatory agencies that enforce the Community Reinvestment Act will give favorable consideration to lenders’ community development activities in Neighborhood Stabilization Program target areas. See Federal Register Dec. 20, 2010.

Federal Home Loan Bank: Programs for Community Investments (PDF) Community Developments Fact Sheet describes a variety of programs that can finance housing and other rural development projects.

FHLBank Community Development Lending Final Rule - Community financial institution (CFI) members (members with assets of less than $1 billion over the past 3 years) of the Federal Home Loan Banks may use community development loans as collateral for FHLBank advances, and FHLBanks may make long-term advances to CFIs for community development activities. The rule also defines “community development” and related terms. See Federal Register, December 9, 2010. Contact Thomas E. Joseph, FHFA, (202) 414-3095.

Map Your Community is a web-based mapping tool that allows users to create custom maps of Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City's Tenth District communities, counties and states using key economic and demographic indicators. These custom maps provide valuable information for economic and community developers, future small-business owners and local residents. There are 31 different data indicators including educational attainment, demographic trends, various types of lending activity and homeownership rates.

National Main Street Center has been working with communities across the nation since 1980 to revitalize their historic or traditional commercial areas. Based in historic preservation, the Main Street approach was developed, by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, to save historic commercial architecture and the fabric of American communities' built environment, but has become a powerful economic development tool as well.

OCC’s New Markets Tax Credits: Unlocking Investment Potential (PDF) (June 2013) This updated report describes new markets tax credits (NMTC) and how banks and thrifts can use NMTCs to support community and economic development activities.

PolicyLink, The Food Trust, and The Reinvestment Fund have launched the Healthy Food Access Portal that connects community leaders, healthy food retailers, policymakers and advocates to an extensive array of resources, strategies and ideas to improve and increase access to healthy food retail—from grocery stores to corner stores, farmers' markets, and mobile produce trucks—in underserved communities. With funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the three organizations created the nation’s first comprehensive healthy food access retail portal and learning community designed to promote healthy food retail efforts in regions across the country. Access the Portal here.

Rural Economic Area Partnership (REAP) Zones - USDA sponsored pilot for rural revitalization and community development in REAP Zones. The REAP Initiative was established to address critical issues related to constraints in economic activity and growth, low density settlement patterns, stagnant or declining employment, and isolation that has led to disconnection from markets, suppliers, and centers of information and finance. The REAP Zones were extended through September 2012.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will launch its "StrikeForce" initiative in 10 additional states, including Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Virginia. The primary goal of the StrikeForce initiative is to increase partnership with rural communities and leverage community resources in targeted, persistent poverty areas. Read more by clicking here.

USDA has released a report on the growing importance of food hubs in rural America. The new report is titled “The Role of Food Hubs in Local Food Marketing” and finds that the success of food hubs is rapidly expanding, with well over 200 hubs now operating in the United States. Download a free copy here.

USDA Community Facilities Guaranteed Loan Program (CFGLP) - Through the CFGLP, USDA Rural Development partners with private lenders to finance essential public facilities in rural areas. The guarantee permits a reduction in lender capitalization requirements, may meet community reinvestment act requirements, and may be sold on the secondary market. Borrowers under the CFGLP are public entities such as municipalities, counties, and special-purpose districts, as well as nonprofit and tribal governments.

Farm Service Agency


FSA Guaranteed Loan Program: The USDA Farm Service Agency offers lenders (banks, thrifts, Farm Credit System institutions, credit unions) guaranteed loans for both farm ownership and operating purposes. The guarantee can be up to 95 percent of the loss of principal and interest on a loan. As of March 4, 2013, USDA Farm Service Agency updated the interest rates that banks and thrifts can charge on these guaranteed loans. Read the letter from Chris P. Beyerftelm, Deputy Administrator for Farm Loan Programs. The letter notifies lenders of the change that will go into effect on May 3, 2013. You can find the letter here or you can also read the interim rule in the Federal Register.

Loans for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers (PDF) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSM) makes and guarantees loans to beginning farmers who are unable to obtain financing from commercial lenders.

Your Guide to FSA Farm Loans: This guide was written for people who need assistance starting, expanding, or owning a farm or ranch.

General Information


The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program is a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The annual Rankings provide a revealing snapshot of how health is influenced by where we live, learn, work and play. The Roadmaps provide guidance and tools to understand the data, and strategies that communities can use to move from education to action.

Access to Capital and Credit for Small Businesses in Appalachia, April 2013, National Community Reinvestment Coalition. This report provides an assessment of the access to capital and credit for small business in the Appalachian Region and updates the 2007 report. Research conducted for ARC by NCRC before the 2007–2010 financial crisis expressed cautious optimism that disparities in access to capital and credit between Appalachia and the nation as a whole were diminishing, and that the Region was becoming more like the nation as a whole in terms of access to lending.1 This study finds that the gap has widened since the recession, particularly in counties designated as “economically distressed” by ARC.

American Community Survey Guidebook Published for ACS Rural Data - A Compass for Understanding and Using American Community Survey Data: What Users of Data for Rural Areas Need to Know is intended to introduce the American Community Survey to those who use rural social, economic, and housing data. ACS will provide regularly updated data that can be updated frequently and will replace some of the data previously provided in the decennial Census.

American Housing Survey 2011 American Housing Survey (AHS) data - AHS is conducted every two years by the Census Bureau and HUD.

Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), established by an act of Congress in 1965, is a regional economic development agency that represents a partnership of federal, state, and local government. ARC compiles data, creates maps, and conducts research and evaluations on key economic, demographic, and quality of life factors that affect the current and future development prospects of the Appalachian Region.

Beyond the Farm (David Dangler - 2007) - New trends in rural community development make the work of rural community development corporations appear more in line with their big-city counterparts.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Lending Rules for Rural or Underserved Counties in 2014. CFPB Provides an Updated List of Rural or Underserved Counties for 2014. The annual list is used for several different regulations (Appraisals for Higher-Priced Mortgage Loans rule, and Truth in Lending Act (Escrows Rule, Ability to Repay or ATR Rule, ATR Concurrent Rule, and HOEPA Rule)

Housing Assistance Council's Rural Data Portal, on-line, provides information on the social, economic, and housing characteristics of communities in the United States. The PORTAL provides over 350 data indictors for rural communities. Most of the information provided comes from HAC tabulations of the 2010 Census of Population and Housing, the American Community Survey (ACS) and Home Mortgage Disclosure Act Data.

List of USDA State Rural Development Offices

National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) provides training, advocacy, and information for regional development organizations primarily in rural communities. NADO also provides a network for its members to share ideas and innovative projects through its Economic Development Digest, which highlights best practices in rural economic development.

The National Rural Housing Coalition has published “Rural America’s Rental Housing Crisis: Federal Strategies to Preserve Access to Affordable Rental Housing in Rural Communities” which documents the successes of USDA’s rental housing programs and the challenges facing them now. Click here to get the report.

National Rural Development Partnership (NRDP) is a national initiative administered by USDA which uses state collaboratives to bring together key rural players in their states to address critical rural community concerns. The NRDP highlights effective strategies for rural community and economic development and also maintains a web clearinghouse on rural development.

Rural Minnesota Community and Economic Development Resource Guide lists local, statewide, and national agencies engaged in or supporting community and economic development in rural Minnesota.  It provides financial institutions and their regulators as well as governmental, non-profit, and for-profit agencies with information supporting rural development in the following areas: Affordable Housing, Community Service, Entrepreneurship, Small Business Development, Small Farm Development, Technical, Leadership, and Planning Assistance, and Workforce Development.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta has compiled a dataset and created the Small City Economic Dynamism Index to help policymakers and practitioners gain more nuanced perspectives. The index ranks 244 small U.S. cities across 14 indicators of economic dynamism in four categories: demographics, economics, human capital, and infrastructure.

USDA Rural Development has released a report on the growing importance of food hubs in rural America. The new report is titled “The Role of Food Hubs in Local Food Marketing”and finds that the success of food hubs is rapidly expanding, with well over 200 hubs now operating in the United States. Download a free copy here.

USDA, Treasury and HHS have defined a food desert as a census tract with a substantial share of residents who live in low-income areas that have low levels of access to a grocery store or healthy, affordable food retail outlet. Find out if a census tract qualifies as a food desert by visiting this page.


Rural Minnesota Community and Economic Development Resource Guide - The purpose of the resource guide is to provide community and economic development practitioners in rural Minnesota with a comprehensive list of agencies engaged in the field.

Foreclosure Prevention: Improving Contact with Borrowers (PDF) (June 2007) - This edition of OCC's Insights highlights best practices loan servicers are using to improve their contact rate with delinquent mortgage borrowers. These best practices include, but are not limited to, the use of sophisticated scoring models, customer friendly approaches, partnerships with nonprofit credit counselors, and web-based information on workout options.

Native American Banking Resource Directory - This directory provides descriptions and contact information for a sampling of organizations that can offer resources to banks and thrifts interested in lending, investing, or providing retail financial services in Indian country.

Understanding Employer Assisted Mortgage Programs: A Primer for National Banks (PDF) (August 2007) Abstract: This edition of OCC's Community Development Insights examines the primary risks and regulatory considerations associated with employer assisted mortgages. The report illustrates how lenders can implement their own successful employer assisted programs or work with other employers to create such initiatives. The paper also discusses how banks and thrifts participating in these programs may meet their Community Reinvestment Act obligations by providing mortgages to low- or moderate-income homebuyers or purchasers of properties in low- or moderate- income neighborhoods.

PolicyLink, The Food Trust, and The Reinvestment Fund have launched the Healthy Food Access Portal that connects community leaders, healthy food retailers, policymakers and advocates to an extensive array of resources, strategies and ideas to improve and increase access to healthy food retail—from grocery stores to corner stores, farmers' markets, and mobile produce trucks—in underserved communities. With funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the three organizations created the nation’s first comprehensive healthy food access retail portal and learning community designed to promote healthy food retail efforts in regions across the country. Access the Portal here.

Updated Congressional District Profiles - Congressional District Profiles. Each profile pulls from a variety of sources and illuminates several dimensions of housing affordability for renter households in each district, the surrounding area, and the state. Each profile is divided into three sections: District, Constituent Areas, and States.


The 2014 Farm Bill authorizes USDA to develop a Whole Farm Diversified Risk Management Insurance (Whole Farm revenue insurance for short) for highly diversified farms. This product will be available nationwide and include a strong diversification bonus. The farm bill also contains an important provision allowing the USDA Risk Management Agency to include coverage for the value of certain on-farm activities necessary to make a crop ready for market. On May 21, USAD Secretary Vilsack announced a new risk management option in the form of a pilot program offering coverage for fruits and vegetables, organic and diversified farms, for fruit and vegetable growers and producers with diversified farms. The policy, called Whole-Farm Revenue Protection, will provide flexible coverage options for specialty crop, organic and diversified crop producers. The program will be implemented in counties across the country and will expand in availability over the next several years. As part of the pilot, Whole-Farm Revenue Protection will be available where AGR and AGR-Lite are currently offered, and will expand to other counties as data are available for underwriting and actuarial ratemaking. Risk Management Agency (RMA) will release information on the policy later this summer when it becomes available. This information will be announced on the RMA website at

USDA has created a Learning Guide Series for small and mid-sized producers to help them navigate available USDA resources. The first in this series will be for small and mid-sized livestock and poultry producers. (Available here). Additional learning guides will be released later this year.

Economic Research Service - Measuring Rurality: ERS has developed several classifications to measure rurality and assess the economic and social diversity of rural America. The Rural-Urban Continuum Codes, the Urban-Influence Codes, and the Rural-Urban Commuting Areas are used to classify counties, census tracts, and ZIP codes by degree of rurality. The ERS’s State Fact Sheets provide information on population, income, education, employment, federal funds, organic agriculture, farm characteristics, farm financial indicators, top commodities, and exports, for each state in the United States.

Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass is a digital guide to USDA resources that support regional food production and provide case studies of successful regional food projects. The interactive map feature includes data on food hubs, farmers markets, meat processing facilities and more, as well as data on USDA-supported projects in all 50 states and is searchable by key word and zip code.

National Institute of Food and Agriculture: Extension, research, and educational programs help individuals and families build financial assets instead of debt. Extension provides research-based information and education via courses, Web-based curricula, and other educational outlets for people to acquire knowledge, skills, and motivation to build financial security. The emphasis of programs is on behavioral change-developing a financial plan, managing risk of loss, reducing household debt, and saving and investing to meet life goals.

Recession's Rural Impacts Summarized Rural America At A Glance, The 2012 edition highlights the most recent indicators of social and economic conditions in rural areas for use in developing policies and programs to assist rural areas.

Rural Development Housing Programs 2009, produced by the Housing Assistance Council (HAC), shows that USDA obligated approximately $19 billion in Fiscal Year 2009 for the production, repair, or support of over 350,000 units of affordable housing for low- and moderate-income families in rural areas. Much of the information in this report derives from HAC tabulations of program data provided by USDA.

Updated State Data Sheets This site has the Economic Research Service's State Fact Sheets, which contain data on population, income, poverty, unemployment, and agriculture characteristics, have been updated with 2012 figures.

USDA Lender Interactive Network Connection (USDA LINC): United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Farm Service Agency (FSA), Rural Business Service (RBS), Rural Housing Service (RHS), Rural Utilities Service (RUS).

Public Facilities Lending


Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) is a nonprofit organization that assists rural communities in 12 western states. They build partnerships, advocate for small communities and develop capacity, especially for the development of public facilities.

USDA Rural Development (RD) provides financial program support for the development of essential public facilities and services such as water and sewer systems, housing, health clinics, emergency service facilities and electric and telephone service. RD supports economic development by guaranteeing loans to businesses through banks, thrifts and community-based lending pools. RD also provides technical assistance to help agriculture and other cooperatives get started and improve membership services. Technical assistance is also provided to communities in order to assist them in achieving community empowerment.

Rural Development Farm Loan Programs 

The final 2014 Farm Bill authorizes USDA to develop a whole farm revenue risk management product for diversified farms with at least a $1.5 million liability limit. This product will be available nationwide and include a strong diversification bonus. This insurance option is an important step toward recognizing and rewarding farmers who use diversified systems to reduce risk and create environmental benefits.

Farmer Mac is America's secondary market for first mortgage agricultural real estate loans, and was created by Congress to improve the availability of mortgage credit to America's farmers, ranchers and rural homeowners, businesses and communities. Farmer Mac does this primarily by purchasing qualified loans from lenders, thereby replenishing their source of funds to make new loans.

USDA's Farm Service Agency offers direct and guaranteed farm ownership and operating loans to farmers who are temporarily unable to obtain private, commercial credit.

Rural Housing

Opening Doors to Rural Homeownership
Opportunities to Expand Homeownership, Build Wealth, and Strengthen Communities, National Rural Housing Coalition, Rev. 2014. This publication explains how two USDA programs (Section 502 Direct Loan program and Section 523 Mutual Self-help Housing program) have expanded homeownership opportunities to some of the nation’s poorest rural families.

Federal Home Loan Banks
The Federal Home Loan Banks, through their affordable housing and community development programs, are serving lower income households. This 2012 report describes how the FHLB, in partnership with their communities, have a long history of using their programs to leverage private and public financing for housing and community development, from 1990 through 2012.


Housing Assistance Council (HAC) provides loans at below-market interest rates to rural housing developers as well as technical assistance, research, and training to public and private organizations. HAC publishes Rural Voices, a newsletter that provides ideas on funding, planning, and building affordable housing and livable rural communities; HAC News, a biweekly newsletter with brief updates on topics related to rural housing and community development; and dozens of research reports and technical manuals, most of which are available on HAC's Web site.

Housing Assistance Council Publication Provides Rural Housing Research. Housing in Rural America

What is the Housing Foreclosure Situation in Rural America? (October 2009) reports on available data, notes special rural considerations, and provides recommendations, and is free.


Difficult Development Areas (DDA) And Qualified Census Tracts Designated (QCT). US Department of Housing and Urban Development identifies DDAs and QCTs for the Low Income Housing Tax Credit. See Federal Register, October 6, 2009. Contact Michael K. Hollar, HUD, (202) 402-5878.

HUD 203(k) Purchase/Rehabilitation Program - FHA 203(k) is a mortgage insurance program that enables homebuyers and homeowners throughout the country to finance the purchase or refinancing of a house and the cost of its rehabilitation through a single mortgage. Risk to lenders is reduced because the loan is insured at closing, prior to completion of the rehabilitation work. FHA-approved lenders make these insured loans and supervise the rehabilitation. OCC has written an Insights report on this topic: OCC’s FHA 203(k) Mortgage Insurance Program: Helping Banks and Borrowers Revitalize Homes and Neighborhoods (May 2013) that describes the Federal Housing Administration's (FHA) 203(k) Rehabilitation Mortgage Insurance, an important financial tool that enables borrowers to purchase and rehabilitate properties.

HUD Income Data. Estimated median family incomes and income limits for FY2012 are available at HUD has also developed a set of income limits specifically for projects that use Low Income Housing Tax Credits or tax-exempt bonds. Information on limits for these "Multifamily Tax Subsidy Projects."

Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) (October 2008). Recently launched by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, this program was created and funded by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. NSP provides CDBG funds to states and entitlement communities to buy and renovate foreclosed properties. HOPE provides FHA insurance for refinances. For NSP details, see

NeighborWorks® in Rural America Initiative (NRI)
NeighborWorks® America administers the NeighborWorks Rural Initiative which provides funding to community development corporations and local non-profit organizations in over 75 rural communities across the country. These organizations provide homeownership education counseling, develop and renovate single- and multi-family housing, and promote economic development in rural areas across the country.


Low Income Housing Tax Credits are used extensively in rural areas to subsidize the cost of creating multifamily rental housing. Under the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program, taxpayers may take a credit against federal income taxes for qualified rental housing development expenditures. The OCC's Tax Credit Resource Directory page includes a description of the Low Income Tax Credit Program (Spring 2006 Community Development Investments) and a Community Developments Fact Sheet on Low Income Housing Tax Credits (PDF). The OCC's Community Developments insights paper, Low-Income Housing Tax Credits: Affordable Housing Investment Opportunities for Banks (NR-2008-10) (PDF 1.1MB) (February 2008) describes how LIHTCs are used to develop affordable rental housing and how banks and thrifts can benefit from investing in LIHTC-financed projects. It describes the two approaches for investing in LIHTCs - direct investments in individual affordable housing projects and fund investments that have multiple projects managed by third parties. The report outlines risks and regulatory considerations of LIHTC investments and describes how these investments would be considered under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).


Council for Affordable and Rural Housing (CARH) is a national non-profit trade organization. CARH serves as an association for participants in the affordable rural housing profession, including: Builders, Owners, Developers, Managers, Non-profits, Housing Authorities, Syndicators, Accountants, Architects, Attorneys, Bankers, and companies that supply goods and services to the industry.

Opening Doors to Rural Homeownership: Opportunities to Expand Homeownership, Build Wealth, and Strengthen Communities, National Rural Housing Coalition, Dec. 2012. This publication explains how two USDA programs (Section 502 Direct Loan program and Section 523 Mutual Self-help Housing program) have expanded homeownership opportunities to some of the nation’s poorest rural families.


Multi-Family Housing Loan Guarantees: The program works with qualified private-sector lenders to provide financing to qualified borrowers to increase the supply of affordable rental housing for low- and moderate-income individuals and families in eligible rural areas and towns.

USDA Guaranteed Rural Rental Housing Program (Sec. 538) provides up to a 90 percent guarantee (for permanent financing or permanent & construction combined) to banks and thrifts that finance affordable rural rental housing. The program is described in the OCC fact sheet on USDA Rural Housing Finance Programs. Following up on a demonstration program, the Rural Housing Service (RHS), an agency within the Rural Development mission area, is amending its regulations (as of January 3, 2011) to add an additional form of guarantee that is now available under its Guaranteed Rural Rental Housing Program. A single, continuous guarantee during the construction phase for construction advances and the permanent financing phase of the project (for loans that meet certain criteria) will now be provided in addition to the two existing forms of guarantees under the program.

USDA Guaranteed Rural Rental Housing - Rural Rental Housing Guaranteed Loans are loans that are funded by conventional lenders (banks, thrifts, mortgage companies, etc.). USDA protects the lender by limiting the loss in the event of default. Qualified lenders are authorized to originate, underwrite, and close loans to eligible borrowers to construct new multi-family housing projects. Lenders may also make loans for the purchase of an existing property where rehabilitation of at least $15,000 per unit is needed. Rural Housing Services will guarantee the lender's loan up to 90% of total development cost. Eligible borrowers include non-profit corporations, public bodies, and for-profit organizations. The program targets small communities with populations of no more than 20,000, located in non metropolitan areas. This program is intended to fund construction, acquisition, or rehabilitation of rural multifamily housing for low-income occupants.

USDA & Federal Home Loan Bank's Mortgage Partnership Finance (MPF) Program
The Mortgage Partnership Finance program of the Federal Home Loan Banks has announced a new partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development Program. Under the arrangement, approved FHLBanks participating in the MPF program can purchase RHS Section 502 government-guaranteed loans from qualified members, including commercial banks, thrifts, credit unions, and insurance companies. USDA Rural Development Guaranteed Loans are offered to qualifying low- and moderate-income families to purchase or refinance homes in rural areas with a population of less than 10,000 and non-metropolitan communities with populations of 10,000-25,000, the MPF reported. The partnership enables the FHLBank of Chicago, which pioneered the MPF program, and the FHLBank of Pittsburgh to buy such loans from their members as "a competitive alternative to the secondary mortgage market." The MPF program can be found online at, and the Rural Development Program can be found at

USDA Preservation Information Exchange (PIX) is a Web site for those interested in preserving affordable multifamily rental properties.