he SBA 504 Loan Program enables growing businesses to secure long term, fixed rate financing when making a fixed asset acquisition. The EDC is a Certified Development Company ("CDC") that helps promote economic development throughout the State of Missouri as well as to the Illinois counties of Jersey, Madison, St. Clair, Monroe, Bond, and Clinton.
With the 504 loan, small businesses realize the following advantages:
- Low Down Payment (10% for existing businesses)
- Long maturities (10 for equipment or 20 years real estate).
- Fixed Interest Rate, typically below market (10 yrs for equipment and 20 yrs for real estate)
Qualifying Project Costs
- Land acquisition and improvements
- Purchase of an existing building and building improvements
- New building construction
- Machinery and equipment
- Furniture and fixtures
- Soft costs
- Interim financing costs
- Refinance of existing debt (up to 50% of total project costs can be used to refinance existing fixed asset debt)
Almost any type of business is eligible: manufacturer, distributor, retailer, etc. Start-ups as well as existing businesses are also eligible.
Businesses must be concerned with each of the following requirements to apply for a 504 loan:
- If purchasing an existing building, the small business must occupy at least 51%.
- If constructing a new building, the business must occupy at least 60%. When reasonable projections of growth indicate the business will need the excess space. If the owner(s) of the property and the owner(s) of the operating small business are different, each 20% or more owner of each entity must guaranty the loan.
Project must, according to SBA guidelines, promote economic development such as creation of jobs, ownership by minorities and women, rural development, public policy energy goals, and being located in a distressed area.
- Business must be for-profit and must average less than $5 million in profits after taxes and have less than $15 million in tangible net worth.
- There is no project maximum size under the 504 loan since there is no limit on the bank loan. (The maximum 504 loan is $5 million, $5.5 million for manufacturing loans.)
- The minimum project size is $125,000.
How the Program Works
Each 504 Loan package has three elements:
- The borrower provides a minimum of 10% of the project total. (Start-up companies and special use facilities will require 15-20%).
- The Certified Development Company lends a maximum of 40% of the Project total (up to $5 million).
- A private lender, usually a bank, lends the balance of the project's total cost (typically 50%).
The interest rate on the CDC's loan is fixed and is generally a little above the rate of 5-year or 10-year
Treasury Bonds. The maturity is 10 or 20 years. The interest rate on the bank loan is negotiated by the borrower and typically is floating.
The combination of fixed and floating interest rates provides an effective hedge against rate fluctuation. If rates increase, the borrower is locked in with the relatively low interest rate on 40% SBA financing. If rates decrease, the borrower floats downward with the bank's 50% loan.
- Application fee - At the time of application, a $750 deposit is required. If the borrower so desires, this deposit can be used to pay the CDC's out-of-pocket expenses, incurred on behalf of an application (title fees, recording, etc.). If the loan is not approved, the $750 is returned to the applicant. If the applicant withdraws at any point after making application, the entire application fee is forfeited. Following a successful funding, any undisbursed balance is returned to the borrower.
- Third Party Lender Fee - This fee is 1/2% of the third party (bank) loan and is paid by the bank to the SBA but can be passed on to the borrower.
- Processing fees - The processing fees compensate each service provider in the 504 process, which includes the CDC, SBA, underwriters and fiscal agent. Processing fees are one-time only fees and are equal to approximately 2.5% of the 504 loan. Processing fees are added to the amount borrowed.
In addition to the fixed assets being purchased, personal guarantees (anyone with a 20% interest in either the operating company or real estate holding company) and/or corporate guarantees are required. Additional collateral is sometimes requested and may include personal assets and life insurance.
If the 504 assets are sold or the original borrowing entity is sold or dissolved, the 504 loan can be assumed if the assuming party meets all credit and eligibility standards of the CDC and the SBA. (A move to prepayment - substitution of collateral is another alternative available for the borrower). An assumption fee of 1% of the outstanding balance of the loan is charged to the Assuming Party.