FAQ

Should I fill out a CCLF loan application now?

No. Before submitting an application, you must always discuss your project with CCLF’s lending team. Contact our Program Assistant (312.252.0440, ext. 208) to start the process.

Why is there a loan inquiry first?

A loan inquiry will enable you to get valuable feedback about your chances of receiving financing and what the next steps should be, as well as help you avoid spending a lot of time filling out the application if your project does not meet CCLF’s criteria. For example, our lending team might suggest that members of your organization attend our Project Readiness Workshop before applying for a loan. Or when timing is critical and eligibility is clear, you may be asked to submit the entire application immediately. The loan inquiry process helps both you and our staff.

Why is the application so long and detailed?

Financing community development projects is an extremely complicated process, fraught with risk. A credit decision cannot be made reasonably without detailed information about the project, including the applicant’s management and financial capabilities. All of our loans are rigorously underwritten, and all information on the application will be double-checked. This is not a matter of distrust, it is standard and responsible lending procedure.

If CCLF takes risks, why must all loans be repaid with interest?

We have many repeat borrowers, and we want to be around when your organization needs additional financing! We rely on the interest spread to help keep our doors open and maintain a certain level of self-sufficiency. We also have responsibilities to our investors: we promise that we will work to protect their money so that it will come back to be re-lent to another borrower. Plus, it helps our borrowers build a credit history that, if payments are made on time, will aid them in securing future financing.

How important is my organization's business plan?

Never underestimate the power of a solid and thorough business plan. CCLF has approved loans to brand new organizations, based largely on their stellar business plans and the integrity and energy of the key staff and board members.

Certainly not. Usually the committee will specify changes or additional requirements that may make them comfortable enough to approve the project at a later meeting. Our lending staff will be direct, respectful and honest about the outcome of the Loan Committee process, and will happily discuss the next steps for your organization.

If my organization is pursuing other financing options, will that hurt our chances at CCLF?

No. It is useful information for our lending team to know, however, and CCLF will not stand in the way if your organization can get a more favorable deal somewhere else. CCLF is open to co-lending with other CDFIs and banks if that works best for your organization.

If my organization goes elsewhere, may we come back to CCLF if circumstances change?

Of course. We will be happy to jumpstart an old application process. JustĀ give us a call.

What if, later on in my development project, my financing needs change?

CCLF’s capital is acrobatic, meaning that it can transform into a different kind of loan, even after the closing. Loans can “morph” from a predevelopment into a construction credit or a minipermanent mortgage, or from a short-term to a long-term loan, if need be, as circumstances change.This feature is not automatic, however, and must be negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

 

Have questions? Please contact a member of our staff.