Westar Trade Resources Blog

Loan Guarantees - Am I Ready? What attracts lenders?

Posted by Cindy Thyfault

USDA Biorefinery Loan Guarantee Program - Am I ready? What makes projects attractive to lenders?

 It's Thursday! Register here. 

Last year we had several webinars on Loan Guarantees, and the response was amazing. So, I've set up a new webinar for tomorrow to address further topics aimed at helping you get your board of directors, senior management team, investors and partners focused on the right winning strategy during a loan guarantee process such as Section 9003. 


The 2014 Farm Bill provides for support of Advanced Biofuels, Renewable Chemicals, and Biobased Product Manufacturing by providing loan guarantees for up to $250 million. The next submission date for applications is April 3, and the USDA has funding available and is actively looking for new applications. This webinar will cover these questions and offer helpful information to allow potential applicants to develop a competitive application.

How can I know if my project will qualify?

What should a successful pro-forma look like when oil prices are so low and predictions of future incentives so unpredictable? 

What makes a project attractive to a lender?

Is my project technically ready?

Deal Jeopardy - what are some common application pitfalls?

  

 Thursday, January 26, 2016, 12-1pm ET 

 

To join me for this free webinar just click on the links here, or below. It'll be the best hour you'll invest all week if you are seeking project funding or planning to do so in the future.

My co-presenters are:

   

Cindy Thyfault
Founder & CEO, Westar Trade Resources

Cindy Thyfault and Westar have a 21 year track record of assisting companies to access over $1.2 billion in federal loan and grant applications. Westar has also assisted 14 companies with feasibility studies and successful loan guarantee applications for the 9003 Program since its inception in 2009, including Sapphire Energy, Ensyn, Fulcrum, and Cool Planet.

 

   

Todd Hubbell
Chief, Technology Branch, USDA Rural Development

Todd Hubbell is the Technology Branch Chief in Energy Programs within the USDA Rural Business- Cooperative Service.  Energy Programs administers the Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program (9003 Program) for financing /supporting biorefineries and the development of advanced biofuels, renewable chemicals and biobased product manufacturing facilities and the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), to support energy efficiency improvement projects and renewable energy systems for rural small business and farmers and ranchers. 

 

   

Jeremy Gilpin
Vice President Business Services, Greater Nevada Credit Union
 

23 years of banking experience with 20 years of providing guaranteed lending through USDA B & I, REAP, FSA, USDA 9003, and SBA. Mr. Gilpin has closed and serviced over $200 million in USDA Business and Industry, REAP, and IRP RLF loans over the past 10 years across the nation. In addition, Mr. Gilpin provided USDA and SBA loan services for banks in the Mid-West. Mr. Gilpin currently sits on the governmental guidance committee, as well as the Executive Board of Directors, for the National Rural Lenders Association, an association that works directly with the USDA national directors as well as political leaders to ensure that financing options remain viable and available to rural communities.

Best regards,

Jim Lane 

Editor & Publisher 

The Digest 

jlane@biofuelsdigest.com 

786-393-8530

Topics: USDA Financing, USDA 9003 loan guarantee, USDA Biorefinery Loan

Thyfault selected as Chairman of REEEAC for 2016-2018 Charter

Posted by Cindy Thyfault

Cynthia L. Thyfault, Founder and CEO of Westar Trade Resources, was selected as Chairman of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee (REEEAC), at the December 1, 2016 committee meeting.

Ms. Thyfault was re-appointed by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker in October to serve a third two-year term on the committee.  The REEAC Committee was established in 2010, at the behest of the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee, to provide support and make recommendations on behalf of U.S. RE&EE manufacturers and service providers in the export market.  REEEAC’s mission is to advise the Secretary on programs and policies that will increase U.S. market share, in order to expand domestic manufacturing, create jobs and support economic growth.  REEEAC is the only government advisory committee within the Executive branch charged with making recommendations to increase exports in this strategic and fast growing sector. 

REEEAC includes 33 senior executives representing the broad range of products and services for which the U.S. is a world leader (including solar, wind, hydro and hydrokinetic, geothermal, biomass, biofuels, waste-to-energy, energy efficiency, smart grid and energy storage). 

“The rapid increase in global demand for clean energy technologies and services provides a great opportunity for American businesses to introduce their world-class products and services to new markets,” Secretary Pritzker said. “The Committee’s guidance and recommendations are instrumental in our efforts to address global climate change and promote U.S. leadership in environmental stewardship while expanding U.S. exports and strengthening our nation’s economy.” 

In the growing RE&EE market, the U.S. is the world leader in providing innovative, competitive, and sustainable products and services. Continued export growth and the economic impact that it provides the U.S. economy is essential to maintaining the U.S. leadership role, and also provides an important offset to our trade deficit. 

Throughout its history, the REEEAC has provided more than 30 recommendations to address a wide range of issues, including: fostering market conditions to strengthen the environmental technology manufacturing base, enhancing support and coordination from government and research programs, reducing gaps in export financing, and improving programs of federal trade policy and promotion agencies.  More information on the REEEAC can be found at http://2016.export.gov/reee/eg_main_023040.asp

 

Topics: U.S. Energy, Westar, energy efficiency, US renewale energy exports

Free Biofuels Digest Webinar - USDA Section 9003 Loan Guarantees, Feasibility Studies and Technical Evaluation - Tuesday, January 12, 12:00 pm EST

Posted by Cindy Thyfault

From the Desk of Jim Lane, Editor:

Last week, I had a webinar on Loan Guarantees, and the response was amazing, and especially the follow-up requests for more understanding of Feasibility Studies, Technical evaluations and more.


So, I've set up a follow-on webinar for next week to address further topics aimed at helping you get your board of directors, senior management team, investors and partners focused on the right winning strategy during a loan guarantee process such as Section 9003. 

We'll look at questions such as: 

  • What is the Purpose of the Feasibility Study?
  • How can I know if my project is feasible? What should I look for in choosing a feasibility study consultant?
  • What does a successful proforma look like when oil prices are so low and predictions of future pricing so unpredictable?
  • Why won't lenders talk to me? (Recommendations and pointers from prior successful clients and what lenders really want before they will consider your project for funding.)
  • Is my project technically ready? (Understand the role of the Independent Engineer and the status of your pilot and integrated demonstration testing and how this will affect your application.)
  • Deal Jeopardy - what are some common application pitfalls?

Experts who know the process inside out.

 

I've invited three experts that I know and trust to join me in this ABLC series webinar.

Tuesday, January 12th at 12-1ET

 To join me for this free webinar just click on the links here, or below. It'll be the best hour you'll invest all week if you are seeking project funding or planning to do so in the future.

My co-presenters are:

CINDY THYFAULTCT_headshot.png
CEO, WESTAR TRADE RESOURCES

 Cindy Thyfault and Westar have a 21 year track record of assisting companies to access over $1.2 billion in federal loan and grant applications.  Westar has also assisted 14 companies with feasibility studies and successful loan guarantee applications for the 9003 Program since its inception in 2009, including Sapphire Energy, Ensyn, Fulcrum, and Cool Planet.

MIKE McCURDYMM_Headshot.jpg
SENIOR PROJECT MANAGER, LEIDOS

Leidos  is a FORTUNE 500 scientific, engineering, and technology applications company that uses its deep domain knowledge to solve problems of vital importance to the nation and the world, in national security, energy and the environment, critical infrastructure, and health. The Company's approximately 40,000 employees serve customers in the U.S. Government and selected commercial markets.  Leidos has also worked on many successful 9003 applications, including Sapphire Energy, Cool Planet, and Ensyn.

MARK BRODZISKIMB_headshot.png
DIRECTOR, ENERGY DIVISION, USDA RURAL BUSINESS SERVICE  

The USDA's Section 9003 Program is designed  to build the bridge for "first of a kind" comercialization for renewable chemical and biobased product manufacturing. The 9003 Program provides loan guarantees up to $250 million. Eligible applicants seeking to construct or retrofit biorefineries to produce advanced biofuels and renewable chemicals are encouraged to apply. The 9003 Program also provides financial assistance to eligible biobased product manufacturing facilities that convert biobased outputs of biorefineries into end-user products on a commercial scale. 

Register Now!

Best regards,

Jim Lane

Editor & Publisher

The Digest

jlane@biofuelsdigest.com

786-393-8530

Click to edit your new post...

Topics: USDA Financing, US, USDA 9003 loan guarantee, USDA

Free Technical Readiness Success Strategies Webinar Today at 12:00 pm EST

Posted by Cindy Thyfault

USDA 9003 - Technical Readiness Success Strategies

Please join us TODAY at 12:00 PM EDT for a free webinar regarding the USDA 9003 Program, discussing Technical Readiness Success Strategies.  This webinar will evaluate issues regarding technical readiness and key strategies to completing a successful technical evaluation by the lender and the USDA, including finding a lender and completing a successful Phase 1 Application.

Topics to be discussed include:

What is a good description of technical readiness by industry and also USDA standards? 

How is the Integrated Demonstration Unit defined – what is the progression from “Research and Development - Pilot - IDU - Commercial ” and what is a “deal killer”? 

What variables affect the Independent Engineering Evaluation process, and how is that process conducted? 

How is the technical evaluation conducted throughout the USDA evaluation process? 

How should companies optimize their technical readiness in the 9003 Phase 1 Application? 

Which USDA program should I be applying for - 9003, 9007, or B&I? 

Are there any special or unique considerations for renewable chemicals and bio-products?

How should the technical information be presented to the lender and the USDA for successful results?

Presenters will include: 

Chris Cassidy, USDA National Renewable Energy Advisor 
James Campbell, USDA RD Energy Division 
Bill Crump, Project Manager, Leidos 
Cindy Thyfault, CEO Westar Trade Resources

To register, please click on the link below:

 https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/969927953722267138

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

If you were unable to attend our previous webinar, please click the title to view the webinar and the download the presentation:

USDA 9003 Program -Winning Strategies for Success Webinar

 Please contact Cindy Thyfault at cindy@westartrade.com for more information or any questions.

Sponsors include:

Westar Trade Resources

Westar Trade Resources has a 21 year track record of assisting companies to access over $1.2 billion in federal loan and grant applications.  Westar has also assisted 14 companies with feasibility studies and successful loan guarantee applications for the 9003 Program since it's inception in 2009, including Sapphire Energy, Ensyn, Fulcrum, and Cool Planet. 

Leidos

Leidos  is a FORTUNE 500® scientific, engineering, and technology applications company that uses its deep domain knowledge to solve problems of vital importance to the nation and the world, in national security, energy and the environment, critical infrastructure, and health. The Company's approximately 40,000 employees serve customers in the U.S. Department of Defense, the intelligence community, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, other U.S. Government civil agencies and selected commercial markets.  Leidos has also worked on many successful 9003 applications, including Sapphire Energy, Cool Planet, and Ensyn.

Topics: business & industry loan guarantee, USDA Financing, USDA 9003 loan guarantee, Rural Energy for America Program

Free Webinar - USDA 9003 Technical Readiness Success Strategies

Posted by Cindy Thyfault

USDA 9003

Technical Readiness Success Strategies

Please join us for a free webinar regarding the USDA 9003 Program, discussing Technical Readiness Success Strategies on Aug 14, 2015 12:00 PM EDT at: 

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/969927953722267138

The USDA 9003 Program application window is open until October 1, 2015, and another window will be open until April 1, 2016. Many companies are evaluating their technical readiness and evaluating the Phase 1 Application Requirements to apply.

This webinar will evaluate issues regarding technical readiness and key issues and strategies to a successful technical evaluation by the lender and the USDA.. 

Topics to be discussed include:

• What is a good description of technical readiness by industry and also USDA standards? 

• How is the Integrated Demonstration Unit defined – what is the progression from “Research and Development - Pilot - IDU - Commercial ” and what is a “deal killer”? 

• What variables affect the Independent Engineering Evaluation process, and how is that process conducted? 

• How is the technical evaluation conducted throughout the USDA evaluation process? 

• How should companies optimize their technical readiness in the 9003 Phase 1 Application? 

• Which USDA program should I be applying for - 9003, 9007, or B&I? 

• Are there any special or unique considerations for renewable chemicals and bio-products? 

Presenters will include: 

Chris Cassidy, USDA National Renewable Energy Advisor 
James Campbell, USDA RD Energy Division 
Bill Crump, Project Manager, Leidos 
Cindy Thyfault, CEO Westar Trade Resources

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Please contact Cindy Thyfault at cindy@westartrade.com for more information or any questions.

Sponsors include:

Westar Trade Resources

Westar Trade Resources has a 21 year track record of assisting companies to access over $1.2 billion in federal loan and grant applications.  Westar has also assisted 14 companies with feasibility studies and successful loan guarantee applications for the 9003 Program since it's inception in 2009, including Sapphire Energy, Ensyn, Fulcrum, and Cool Planet. 

Leidos

Leidos  is a FORTUNE 500® scientific, engineering, and technology applications company that uses its deep domain knowledge to solve problems of vital importance to the nation and the world, in national security, energy and the environment, critical infrastructure, and health. The Company's approximately 40,000 employees serve customers in the U.S. Department of Defense, the intelligence community, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, other U.S. Government civil agencies and selected commercial markets.  Leidos has also worked on many successful 9003 applications, including Sapphire Energy, Cool Planet, and Ensyn.

 

Topics: USDA Financing, USDA 9003 loan guarantee

USDA 9003 Program -Winning Strategies for Success Webinar

Posted by Cindy Thyfault

The USDA's Section 9003 Program is designed  to build the bridge for "first of a kind" comercialization for renewable chemical and biobased product manufacturing. The new Final Rule for the 9003 program also has provided for improvements for the loan guarantee application and underwriting process, including expanded eligibility and application enhancements. 

The 9003 Program provides loan guarantees up to $250 million. Eligible applicants seeking to construct or retrofit biorefineries to produce advanced biofuels and renewable chemicals are encouraged to apply. The 9003 Program also provides financial assistance to eligible biobased product manufacturing facilities that convert biobased outputs of biorefineries into end-user products on a commercial scale.

The Webinar was held on Thursday, July 23 at 3:00 pm EST.  

Webinar Presenters included:

  • Mark Brodziski, Director, USDA Energy Division, USDA Rural Development
  • Bill Crump, Senior Project Manager, Leidos
  • Wes Bolsen, Business Development and Public Affairs, Cool Planet
  • Bob Doherty, CFO, Ensyn
  • Cindy Thyfault, CEO, Westar Trade Resources

Topics covered included:

  • Overview of the new 9003 Program regulations and the newly revised application guide
  • Developing a winning strategy over your competition during the application process and avoid common pitfalls
  • Recommendations and pointers for locating a Lender of Record
  • Understand the role of the Independent Engineer and how this will affect your application
  • Obtain important information regarding technical readiness and common technical pitfalls
  • Get recommendations from successful prior applicants on "lessons learned" and what the success of the loan guarantee has meant to their business
  • Q&A Session following the presentation

Sponsors included:

Westar Trade Resources

Westar Trade Resources has a 21 year track record of assisting companies to access over $1.2 billion in federal loan and grant applications.  Westar has also assisted 14 companies with feasibility studies and successful loan guarantee applications for the 9003 Program since it's inception in 2009, including Sapphire Energy, Ensyn, Fulcrum, and Cool Planet. 

Leidos

Leidos  is a FORTUNE 500® scientific, engineering, and technology applications company that uses its deep domain knowledge to solve problems of vital importance to the nation and the world, in national security, energy and the environment, critical infrastructure, and health. The Company's approximately 40,000 employees serve customers in the U.S. Department of Defense, the intelligence community, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, other U.S. Government civil agencies and selected commercial markets.  Leidos has also worked on many successful 9003 applications, including Sapphire Energy, Cool Planet, and Ensyn.

Download the Webinar Powerpoint Presentation

Download the Webinar Video Presentation 

For more information or to schedule a free, no obligation consultation about your project which includes a free potential lender review and recommendation, please contact Cindy Thyfault, CEO, Westar Trade Resources at cindy@westartrade.com or 866-480-4405.

 

Topics: USDA 9003 loan guarantee

Congratulations to Client Cool Planet on USDA 9003 Award

Posted by Cindy Thyfault

Cool Planet Energy Systems has landed a$91 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help pay for the construction of the Greenwood Village company’s first commercial refinery in Louisiana.

Westar Trade Resources provided the independent feasibility study for the application.

The first refinery is slated for Louisiana’s Port of Alexandria; Cool Planet broke ground on the facility in February. It will be capable of producing between 8 million and 10 million gallons of fuel per year when operating at full capacity, the USDA said.

The agency said it had reached an agreement with the Silicon Valley Bank to provide a $91 million loan guarantee, via the Biorefinery Assistance Program, to Cool Planet to help the company finish construction on its biofuel plant at the Port of Alexandria in Louisiana.

The USDA said Cool Planet will contribute $50 million in equity to the project. The company has attracted private investments from numerous companies, including Google VenturesBP, ConocoPhillips, GE, Exelon and NRG Energy.

Cool Planet CEO Howard Janzen thanked the USDA for backing “industry-leading projects such as ours.”

“The Cool Planet process provides real solutions to some of today’s most important energy, food and water challenges,” Janzen said. “Our first commercial plant will produce renewable fuels by converting wood chips into high octane gasoline and aromatic blendstocks that are chemically identical to fossil fuels."

For a free, no obligation consultation on how Westar can assist your company apply for a USDA 9003 loan guarantee, contact us at 866-480-4405 or at sales@westartrade.com.

Topics: USDA 9003 loan guarantee, advanced biofuels, Cool Planet, drop-in fuel, biochar

Congratulations to Clients Fulcrum BioEnergy and Red Rock Biofuels

Posted by Cindy Thyfault
 

Fulcrum BioEnergy and Red Rock Biofuels were recently awarded $70 million each in Phase 2 of the joint DOD-USDA-DOE investment through the Defense Production Act to develop commercial grade renewable jet fuel and commericial dieselthat will help meet the transportation needs of the U.S. military and private sector.

Together  with Emerald Biofuels, these three projects will produce more than 100 million gallons of military-grade biofuel annually beginning in 2016 and 2017 at a price competitive with their petroleum counterparts. This fuel can be blended up to 50% with traditional fuels and emits less than half the life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions than their petroleum counterparts.

The following companies that received federal investments for the construction and commissioning of biorefineries include:

  • Emerald Biofuels: To build and operate an 82 million gallon per year refinery on the Gulf Coast to hydro-treat and upgrade waste fats, oils, and greases to create military-grade jet fuel and diesel. 

  • Fulcrum BioEnergy: To build and operate a refinery in McCarran, Nevada, to convert municipal solid waste, using gasification and Fischer-Tröpsch conversion technology, into more than 10 million gallons of renewable jet and diesel fuel a year.

  • Red Rock Biofuels: To build and operate a 12 million gallon per year refinery in Lakeview, Oregon, using gasification and Fischer-Tröpsch conversion technology to turn forest biomass and wood wastes into renewable fuels for the military. 

USDA also awarded Fulcrum a $105 million Biorefinery Assistance Program loan guarantee through Bank of America, N.A. to construct a facility in McCarran, Nev., to convert municipal solid waste to biodiesel jet fuel. USDA Rural Development's loan guarantee represents less than half of the $266 million project cost. The plant is expected to produce 11 million gallons of fuel annually.

This is the first loan guarantee USDA has made for the production of bio jet fuel.

Fulcrum will produce synthesis gas from 147,000 tons of municipal solid waste and catalytically convert it to synthetic paraffinic kerosene/jet fuel through a proprietary technology. The plant will be the first of what the company expects to be several bio jet fuel plants throughout the country.

Last month, Cathay Pacific Airways announced that it is investing in Fulcrum Bioenergy Inc., the parent company of Fulcrum Sierra BioFuels, LLC, and has negotiated a long-term supply agreement with Fulcrum for 375 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel over 10 years. This would represent about 2 percent of the airline's annual fuel consumption.

Westar Trade Resources assisted Fulcrum with an independent Feasibility Study and consulting for their USDA 9003 application, and also assisted Red Rock Biofuels with their application preparation for the Defense Production Act application.

For a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss how we can assist you with your project, please contact us at sales@westartrade.com or call 866-480-4405.

Topics: Department of Defense, Fulcrum, DPA grant, USDA, Department of Energy, renewable jet fuel, U.S. Military, Red Rock Biofuels

Thyfault Appointed to Department of Commerce Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee

Posted by Cindy Thyfault


Cindy Thyfault PhotoCindy Thyfault, Founder and CEO of Westar Trade Resources, has recently been appointed to the Secretary of the Department of Commerce's Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee (RE&EEAC). 

The RE&EEAC will advise and provide recommendations to the United States Department of Commerce Secretary on matters concerning:

  • Competitiveness issues facing U.S. renewable energy and energy efficiency exports;

  • Development and administration of programs and policies to expand U.S. renewable energy;

  • Trade policy negotiations relating to U.S. energy efficiency exports; and

  • Policies of foreign governments impacting the export of U.S. energy services and technologies.

The 37 committee members represent U.S. companies, trade associations, and private sector organizations with activities focused on the competitiveness of U.S. renewable energy and energy efficiency goods and services. 

Upon its launch in 2010, the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Export Initiative demonstrated the U.S. government's strong commitment to the competitiveness of U.S. clean energy exporters globally. The committee has now expanded its initial focus of solar, wind and energy efficiency to include biofuels in its scope.

Cindy commented that "it is an honor to serve with the other distinguished committee members to forge and strengthen opportunities internationally for all forms of renewable energy.  As I have traveled around the world these last few years promoting the deployment of advanced biofuels and new technologies, I have seen first-hand the need and the impact that this growing industry can have for US exporters as well as developing countries hungry for a stable source of fuel and electricity.  I look forward to working with technology providers and acting as a liaison for creating and developing best practices and new opportunities."

Cindy Thyfault has over 27 years business experience in development, management and funding of bioenergy projects, food and fiber manufacturing, oilseed manufacturing, green building products and residential and industrial construction, both domestically and internationally.

Ms. Thyfault currently serves on the Business Development Committee for the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI), in which she is the international finance lead.  In this position, she advises board members and other worldwide aviation fuel development associations on best practices and strategy regarding aviation fuels technology development, commercialization, and financing.

Ms. Thyfault also currently serves as one of 35 members worldwide on the Sustainable Alternative Fuels for Aviation (SUSTAF) for the International Civil Aviation Association (ICAO), a specialized agency of the United Nations, which was created in 1944 to promote the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation throughout the world.

Ms. Thyfault's company, Westar Trade Resources, is an international financial consulting company headquartered in Dallas, Texas, known for the development, marketing, and funding of start-up & expansion of new businesses both domestically and internationally. The depth of projects has extended to all forms of renewable energy and bioproducts, food and fiber manufacturing, green building products, import-export manufacturing, commodity trading, real estate, and other sustainable, transformational technologies.

Westar has assisted companies with obtaining over $900 million in USDA, DOE, and Export-Import Bank, OPIC and other international and government assisted funding programs.
In addition, Westar is known both nationally and internationally for its work in developing innovative bond finance structures that can assist companies worldwide to fund commercial facilities for biofuels, biochemicals, renewable electricity, and water and wastewater projects.

For more information about the scope of the committee and its members, please visit the following:

Topics: International Trade, energy efficiency, Cindy Thyfault, advanced biofuels, Clean Energy, department of commerce

It's Time to Apply for a USDA B & I Loan Guarantee

Posted by Cindy Thyfault
Now is the time to start planning for financing capital equipment and construction costs for your projects with funding available through the USDA Rural Development's Business & Industry (B & I) Guaranteed Loan Program. The USDA B & I Program helps rural businesses by guaranteeing loans of commercial lenders who might not otherwise extend credit. The B & I guarantee is an incentive to spur business lending is also a great tool for financing projects in rural areas.

Westar Trade Resources has completed numerous applications for the B & I Loan Program by assisting our clients with preparing loan packages and feasibility studies. Westar has developed an excellent reputation with clients, lenders, and many state USDA offices, as well as the national USDA office in charge of the B & I loan process.

The application process involves four stages:  
  1. Preparing an Feasibility Study by a third-party independent consultant
  2. Preparing the loan guarantee package, including the Environmental Assessment and Technical Report if a Renewable Energy project
  3. Locating a lender and getting a conditional commitment (as well as a loan analysis, etc.)
  4. Submitting the application to USDA and getting approval
"Each of these steps can take 30-90 days or more," commented Westar Founder and CEO, Cindy Thyfault. "Because of this timeline, it is essential that a potential applicant understand the process, the time involved, and the cost of moving through each of the stages to get to the financial close so that they can move forward with implementing the financing and completing the project. We understand the process, and we assist our clients to move through the process quickly and smoothly, so that projects can be approved in a timely manner, and the project is structured with sound, sustainable financial considerations that mitigate project risk."

Westar's website now has a newly expanded section for the USDA B & I Loan Guarantee Program. The section contains all relevant program information in addition to a quick guide and overview of the B & I loan process. Additional information on Feasibility StudyTechnical Report, and Environmental Assessment requirements is also provided to help you better understand the B & I program and to determine whether your project is eligible

Westar has actively followed policies impacting the B & I program and has several key pieces of information to share regarding upcoming changes. The USDA is currently operating under a continuing resolution until the end of March. There are some changes from prior years which went into effect in 2011, including increases in the USDA fee structures. The new rates include a one-time 3% guarantee fee as well as a 0.5% annual renewal fee. Most importantly, there are forthcoming revisions of the program regulations to be published next summer which could bring new changes to the way the B&I program has operated in the past. 

Another timing issue for consideration is the USDA's adoption of the 2010 Census, which could have a serious impact on a project's location eligibility. Currently, the USDA determines site eligibility based on the 2000 Census. At the end of March 31st, 2013, the USDA will adopt the 2010 Census. 

According to Daniel Torres, Business & Industry Programs Director for the State of Texas, there are two towns in Texas-Conroe and New Braunfels-that will be directly affected by new policies. Other towns across the U.S. could also be affected as a result of changes in population density and the "MSA effect." Additionally, special waivers given to economically distressed areas such as the Lower Rio Grande region will also expire on March 31st 2013. It is important to contact your local USDA office to determine whether your project site might be affected by these changes. Any areas under a special waiver should have a complete application submitted to local state offices prior to March 31st to ensure eligibility under current guidelines and that loan guarantee awards are obligated by the end of the fiscal year, September 30, 2013.

Mr. Torres also stressed that the best time to apply is now through March 31st as the application may be processed quicker and will be less competitive. Between now and June there is an allocation available; however, the funding typically runs out in early summer. If an applicant applies after the allocation has been appropriated, the applicant will have to wait until the following year's allocation is released. 

Westar can work with both lenders and applicants to have successful, efficient applications and loan closings. Westar is a strong believer in the B & I Program and the benefits it provides to rural areas including job creation and economic development. We look forward to lender referrals and helping our current and new clients to prepare successful applications. 

For a free, no-obligation consultation, contact Westar at 214-320-0900 or cindy@westartrade.com

Topics: business & industry loan guarantee, B&I, government program, Financing, USDA