Helping Jobs Creators Lower Costs in a Tough Economy
By Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague
Forty-year high inflation. An unprecedented supply chain crisis. Record-breaking energy prices. And now, interest rate hikes at the Federal Reserve that will make the cost of borrowing more expensive. As small businesses try to stay afloat, they’re being confronted with no shortage of new and complicating challenges.
However, the Treasurer’s office is more committed than ever before to serving job creators and family businesses across Ohio. Through the long-standing linked deposit programs described below, we can assist Ohio-based businesses in accessing interest rate reductions on eligible loans to drive down the rising costs of borrowing.
Since 1986, the Ag-LINK program has been a trusted tool in helping farmers and agribusinesses to lower interest costs on new and existing operating loans. Every year, borrowers use the program to finance upfront costs for feed, seed, fertilizer, fuel, equipment, and other expenses.
As part of our Ohio Gains initiative and in direct response to feedback we received from the ag community, we recently made several reforms that modernize Ag-LINK and make it even more impactful amid the current economic climate. For the first time in the program’s history, loan applications are being accepted year-round. This new, year-long application period provides borrowers with greater flexibility and ensures they can access capital whenever they may need it most.
In addition to adding agricultural cooperatives as eligible Ag-LINK borrowers, we’ve also removed outdated programmatic and loan caps from statute. Previously, only loans up to $150,000 were eligible for reduced interest rates through Ag-LINK. That’s no longer the case, as we’ve removed these caps to allow the program to better keep pace with modern borrowing needs. Moving forward, loan caps will be assessed and set by our office on an annual basis.
GrowNOWDesigned to support Ohio-based small businesses, GrowNOW offers interest rate reductions on business loans. Under the program, loan proceeds must directly support job creation or retention efforts, which may be accomplished through a variety of means, including, but not limited to, start-up costs, on-going supply purchases, marketing, building expansions or renovations, or equipment purchases. To be eligible, a small business must also be organized for profit, headquartered in Ohio, and have less than 150 employees with the majority located in Ohio. Depending on your lending institution, additional requirements and restrictions may apply.
In the Treasurer’s office, we’re committed to putting the power of finance to work for Ohio and its communities. While the economy faces an uncertain road ahead, we’ll continue to look for new and innovative ways to put the state’s strong balance sheet to work for our residents, families, and job creators. And we’re ready to help more Ohioans and businesses lower their borrowing costs through our linked deposit programs.
For more information about these programs, please visit our website at www.tos.ohio.gov. As always, we encourage you to stay up to date on news from the office through social media. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram at @OhioTreasurer.