7 CFR § 4279.166 - Loan priority scoring.
The Agency will consider applications and pre applications in the order they are received by the Agency; however, for the purpose of assigning priority points as described in paragraph (b) of this section, the Agency will compare an application to other pending applications that are competing for funding. The Agency may establish a minimum loan priority score to fund projects from the National Office reserve and will publish any minimum loan priority score in a notice published in the Federal Register.
(b) The Agency will assign priority points on the basis of the point system contained in this section. The Agency will use the application and supporting information to determine an eligible proposed project's priority for available guarantee authority. To the extent possible, all lenders must consider Agency priorities when choosing projects for guarantee. The lender must provide necessary information related to determining the score, if requested.
(1) Population priority. Projects located in an unincorporated area or in a city with a population under 25,000 (10 points).
(2) Demographics priority. The priority score for demographics priority will be the total score for the following categories:
(i) Located in an eligible area of long-term population decline according to the last three decennial censuses (5 points);
(ii) Located in a rural county that has had 20 percent or more of its population living in poverty based on the last three decennial censuses (10 points);
(iii) Located in a rural community that is experiencing trauma as a result of natural disaster (5 points);
(iv) Located in a city or county with an unemployment rate 125 percent of the Statewide rate or greater (5 points);
(v) Located within the boundaries of a Federally recognized Indian tribe's reservation, within tribal trust lands, or within land owned by an Alaska Native Regional or Village Corporation as defined by the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (5 points); and
(vi) Business is owned by a qualified veteran as defined by § 4279.2 (5 points).
(3) Loan features. The priority score for loan features will be the total score for each of the following categories:
(4) High impact business investment priorities. The priority score for high impact business investment will be the total score for the following categories:
(i) Business/industry. The priority score for business/industry will be the total score for the following:
(A) Industry that is not already present in the community (5 points);
(C) Business that offers high value, specialized products and/or services that command high prices (5 points);
(D) Business that provides an additional market for existing local businesses (5 points);
(E) Business that is locally owned and managed (5 points);
(F) Business that will produce a natural resource value-added product (5 points); and
(G) Business that processes, distributes, aggregates, stores, and/or markets locally or regionally produced agricultural food products to underserved communities in accordance with § 4279.113(y)(5) (10 points).
(ii) Occupations. The priority score for occupations will be the total score for the following:
(A) Business that creates or saves jobs with an average wage exceeding 125 percent of the Federal minimum wage (5 points);
(B) Business that creates or saves jobs with an average wage exceeding 150 percent of the Federal minimum wage (5 points); and
(C) Business that offers a healthcare benefits package to all employees, with at least 50 percent of the premium paid by the employer (5 points).
(5) Administrative points. The State Director may assign up to 10 additional points to an application to account for Statewide distribution of funds, natural disasters or economic emergency conditions, community economic development strategies, State strategic plans, fundamental structural changes in a community's economic base, or projects that will fulfill an Agency initiative. In addition to the State Director assigned points, if an application is considered in the National Office, the Administrator may assign up to an additional 10 points to account for geographic distribution of funds, emergency conditions caused by economic problems or natural disasters, or projects that will fulfill an Agency initiative.
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