Fort Peck Starts Micro-Lending Program

Feb 15th, 1997 | By | Category: 8-4: Racism, Tribal College News

Small businesses without credit records can apply for loans from the Center for Family and Community Development (CFCD) at Fort Peck Community College. The new micro-lending program is modeled after a similar program in Bangladesh and first brought to American Indian reservations by the Lakota Fund in South Dakota (TCJ, Fall 1992).

Indian-owned businesses often have trouble getting conventional loans for many reasons. The CFCD Micro-loan program will enable small businesses to apply for small loans that allow them to meet existing contracts, increase their competitiveness, or increase their capabilities to provide products or services.

To be eligible, applicants must be certified by completing certain entrepreneur/business courses and by preparing a business plan. Loans will be made to certified applicants on a revolving basis. When a loan recipient successfully repays a loan, he or she will then become eligible for a larger loan, thus establishing a credit record. All loans will require some type of collateral.

Loans will be made by a local lending agency in northeastern Montana and guaranteed by monies on deposit at that agency. CFCD raised the guarantee funds through a variety of sources, according to Chuck Trinder of the CFCD. The micro-loan program is part of a new Small Business Assistance Center at the college, which also includes an Entrepreneur Training Program and the Tribal Business Information Center.

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