The Coastal Area District Development Authority, a local nonprofit certified development company, has partnered with the National Association of Development Companies and the Small Business Administration to develop a business lending program that focuses on veterans.
According to Daniel Son, public-relations coordinator for the NADCO, VetLoan Advantage is a veterans lending initiative. He said the NADCO and the SBA are committed to increasing small-business loans to veterans by 5 percent during the next five years. At least $475 million in additional loans will become available to veteran entrepreneurs.
Son said the service area for CADDA encompasses coastal communities between Beaufort, S.C. and Jacksonville, Fla., which includes Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield and Kings Bay Submarine Base in Kingsland.
“This is the right thing to do for our veterans and our communities,” CADDA CEO Andrew Standard said. “Not only will getting these veterans the access to capital they need help them start businesses and transition back to civilian life, but this will help create jobs and economic growth in our community. We’re proud to be a part of VetLoan Advantage.”
NADCO’s goal is to have 40 percent of its nearly 270 certified development companies participate in VetLoan Advantage discounts, which represent a value of $3,000 to $20,000 in savings to qualified veterans-loan applicants. In 2012, about 10 percent of the SBA’s small-business or commercial real-estate loans went to military veterans. VetLoan Advantage will increase that percentage, he said.
Standard said that CADDA has assisted more than 50 veterans with small-business loans since it started in 1976. He also noted the large number of Stewart-Hunter soldiers and Kings Bay sailors who retire in this area make CADDA’s service area the “perfect place” to implement VetLoan Advantage.
He called CADDA a “quasi-governmental agent for the SBA,” noting that the new program will complement the SBA’s efforts to help veterans by offering discounts and other rebates on commercial real estate and working-capital SBA loans.
“It’s vital for lending institutions to step forward and help veterans make the transition, especially because capital access is a problem for all small businesses, but an added problem for veterans who already have challenges transitioning back into the civilian economy,” said Beth Solomon, NADCO president and CEO, who has spearheaded the new program. “We want to equip and empower our brave and extremely capable men and women to pursue the American dream and create the jobs our country needs.”
Son explained that VetLoan Advantage is a voluntary program intended to enhance SBA’s small-business loans initiative. The SBA’s “504 loan imitative” is a self-funded, long-term financing tool that’s provided, at no cost to taxpayers, to small businesses at fixed rates with down payments as low as 10 percent, he said.
Certified development companies work with the SBA and private sector lenders to help small businesses obtain financing under the 504 loan initiative.
Son added that NADCO enabled nearly 400 veterans obtain small business loans during the first four months of 2013.
For more information, call CADDA at 912-261-2500 or 912-236-9566.