(a)Requests for interest assistance. In addition to the loan application items required by § 762.110, to apply for interest assistance the lender's cash flow budget for the guaranteed applicant must reflect the need for interest assistance and the ability to cash flow with the subsidy. Interest assistance is available only on new guaranteed Operating Loans (OL).
(b)Eligibility requirements. The lender must document that the following conditions have been met for the applicant to be eligible for interest assistance:
(1) A feasible plan cannot be achieved without interest assistance, but can be achieved with interest assistance.
(2) If significant changes in the borrower's cash flow budget are anticipated after the initial 12 months, then the typical cash flow budget must demonstrate that the borrower will still have a feasible plan following the anticipated changes, with or without interest assistance.
(3) The typical cash flow budget must demonstrate that the borrower will have a feasible plan throughout the term of the loan.
(4) The borrower, including members of an entity borrower, does not own any significant assets that do not contribute directly to essential family living or farm operations. The lender must determine the market value of any such non-essential assets and prepare a cash flow budget and interest assistance calculations based on the assumption that these assets will be sold and the market value proceeds used for debt reduction. If a feasible plan can then be achieved, the borrower is not eligible for interest assistance.
(5) A borrower may only receive interest assistance if their total debts (including personal debts) prior to the new loan exceed 50 percent of their total assets (including personal assets). An entity's debt to asset ratio will be based upon a financial statement that consolidates business and personal debts and assets of the entity and its members. Beginning farmers and ranchers, as defined in § 762.102, are excluded from this requirement.
(c)Maximum assistance. The maximum total guaranteed OL debt on which a borrower can receive interest assistance is $400,000, regardless of the number of guaranteed loans outstanding. This is a lifetime limit.
(d)Maximum time for which interest assistance is available.
(1) A borrower may only receive interest assistance for one 5-year period. The term of the interest assistance agreement executed under this section shall not exceed 5 consecutive years from the date of the initial agreement signed by the applicant, including any entity members, or the outstanding term of the loan, whichever is less. This is a lifetime limit.
(2) Beginning farmers and ranchers, as defined in § 762.102, however, may be considered for two 5-year periods. The applicant must meet the definition of a beginning farmer and meet the other eligibility requirements outlined in paragraph (b) of this section at the onset of each 5-year period. A needs test will be completed in the fifth year of IA eligibility for beginning farmers, to determine continued eligibility for a second 5-year period.
(3) Notwithstanding the limitation of paragraph (d)(1) of this section, a new interest assistance agreement may be approved for eligible borrowers to provide interest assistance through June 8, 2009, provided the total period does not exceed 10 years from the effective date of the original interest assistance agreement.
(e)Multiple loans. In the case of a borrower with multiple guaranteed loans with one lender, interest assistance can be applied to each loan, only to one loan or any distribution the lender selects, as necessary to achieve a feasible plan, subject to paragraph (c) of this section.
(f)Terms. The typical term of scheduled loan repayment will not be reduced solely for the purpose of maximizing eligibility for interest assistance. A loan must be scheduled over the maximum term typically used by lenders for similar type loans within the limits in § 762.124. An OL for the purpose of providing annual operating and family living expenses will be scheduled for repayment when the income is scheduled to be received from the sale of the crops, livestock, and/or livestock products which will serve as security for the loan. An OL for purposes other than annual operating and family living expenses (i.e. purchase of equipment or livestock, or refinancing existing debt) will be scheduled over 7 years from the effective date of the proposed interest assistance agreement, or the life of the security, whichever is less.
(g)Rate of interest. The lender may charge a fixed or variable interest rate, but not in excess of what the lender charges its average agricultural loan customer.
(h)Agreement. The lender and borrower must execute an interest assistance agreement as prescribed by the Agency.
(i)Interest assistance claims and payments. To receive an interest assistance payment, the lender must prepare and submit a claim on the appropriate Agency form. The following conditions apply:
(1) Interest assistance payments will be four (4) percent of the average daily principal loan balance prorated over the number of days the loan has been outstanding during the payment period. For loans with a note rate less than four (4) percent, interest assistance payments will be the weighted average interest rate multiplied by the average daily principal balance.
(2) The lender may select at the time of loan closing the date that they wish to receive an interest assistance payment. That date will be included in the interest assistance agreement.
(i) The initial and final claims submitted under an agreement may be for a period less than 12 months. All other claims will be submitted for a 12-month period, unless there is a lender substitution during the 12-month period in accordance with this section.
(ii) In the event of liquidation, the final interest assistance claim will be submitted with the estimated loss claim or the final loss claim if an estimated loss claim was not submitted. Interest will not be paid beyond the interest accrual cutoff dates established in the loss claims according to § 762.149(d)(2).
(3) A claim should be filed within 60 days of its due date. Claims not filed within 1 year from the due date will not be paid, and the amount due the lender will be permanently forfeited.
(4) All claims will be supported by detailed calculations of average daily principal balance during the claim period.
(5) Requests for continuation of interest assistance for agreements dated prior to June 8, 2007 will be supported by the lender's analysis of the applicant's farming operation and need for continued interest assistance as set out in their Interest Assistance Agreements. The following information will be submitted to the Agency:
(i) A summary of the operation's actual financial performance in the previous year, including a detailed income and expense statement.
(ii) A narrative description of the causes of any major differences between the previous year's projections and actual performance, including a detailed income and expense statement.
(iii) A current balance sheet.
(iv) A cash-flow budget for the period being planned. A monthly cash-flow budget is required for all lines of credit and operating loans made for annual operating purposes. All other loans may include either an annual or monthly cash-flow budget.
(v) A copy of the interest assistance needs analysis portion of the application form which has been completed based on the planned period's cash-flow budget.
(6) Interest Assistance Agreements dated June 8, 2007 or later do not require a request for continuation of interest assistance. The lender will only be required to submit an Agency IA payment form and the average daily principal balance for the claim period, with supporting documentation.
(7) Lenders may not charge or cause a borrower with an interest assistance agreement to be charged a fee for preparation and submission of the items required for an annual interest assistance claim.
(j)Transfer, consolidation, and writedown. Loans covered by interest assistance agreements cannot be consolidated. Such loans can be transferred only when the transferee was liable for the debt on the effective date of the interest assistance agreement. Loans covered by interest assistance can be transferred to an entity if the entity is eligible in accordance with §§ 762.120 and 762.150(b) and at least one entity member was liable for the debt on the effective date of the interest assistance agreement. Interest assistance will be discontinued as of the date of any writedown on a loan covered by an interest assistance agreement.
(k)Rescheduling and deferral. When a borrower defaults on a loan with interest assistance or the loan otherwise requires rescheduling or deferral, the interest assistance agreement will remain in effect for that loan at its existing terms. The lender may reschedule the loan in accordance with § 762.145. For Interest Assistance Agreements dated June 8, 2007 or later increases in the restructured loan amount above the amount originally obligated do not require additional funding; however, interest assistance is not available on that portion of the loan as interest assistance is limited to the original loan amount.
(l)Bankruptcy. In cases where the interest on a loan covered by an interest assistance agreement is reduced by court order in a reorganization plan under the bankruptcy code, interest assistance will be terminated effective on the date of the court order. Guaranteed loans which have had their interest reduced by bankruptcy court order are not eligible for interest assistance.
(m)Termination of interest assistance payments. Interest assistance payments will cease upon termination of the loan guarantee, upon reaching the expiration date contained in the agreement, or upon cancellation by the Agency under the terms of the interest assistance agreement. In addition, for loan guarantees sold into the secondary market, Agency purchase of the guaranteed portion of a loan will terminate the interest assistance.
(n)Excessive interest assistance. Upon written notice to the lender, borrower, and any holder, the Agency may amend or cancel the interest assistance agreement and collect from the lender any amount of interest assistance granted which resulted from incomplete or inaccurate information, an error in computation, or any other reason which resulted in payment that the lender was not entitled to receive.
(o)Condition for cancellation. The Interest Assistance Agreement is incontestable except for fraud or misrepresentation, of which the lender or borrower have actual knowledge at the time the interest assistance agreement is executed, or which the lender or borrower participates in or condones.
(p)Substitution. If there is a substitution of lender, the original lender will prepare and submit to the Agency a claim for its final interest assistance payment calculated through the effective date of the substitution. This final claim will be submitted for processing at the time of the substitution.
(1) Interest assistance will continue automatically with the new lender.
(2) The new lender must follow paragraph (i) of this section to receive their initial and subsequent interest assistance payments.
(q)Exception Authority. The Deputy Administrator for Farm Loan Programs has the authority to grant an exception to any requirement involving interest assistance if it is in the best interest of the Government and is not inconsistent with other applicable law.