FAQ

What is First State Community Loan Fund?

Founded in 1992, First State Community Loan Fund (CLF) is a not-for-profit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that specializes in loan capital and technical assistance to small businesses and community organizations throughout Delaware and in Chester and Delaware Counties in southeastern Pennsylvania. First State CLF’s mission to educate, empower, and elevate business owners, and entrepreneurs, by augmenting technical expertise, increasing access to capital and stimulating business growth throughout Delaware and southeastern Pennsylvania.

What is a Community Development Financial Institution?

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) are mission-driven financial institutions that provide financial products and services to people and communities that are underserved by traditional financial institutions. These organizations create jobs, provide affordable housing and build wealth for disadvantaged communities and persons throughout the country. A CDFI Certification comes from the U.S. Treasury Department.

What types of programs and services does First State Community Loan Fund offer?

First State Community Loan Fund offers Lending programs, the Business Savers Program, the Women’s Business Center, and the Retail Assistance Program. Click on any of the preceding words for information on that program.

What is the difference between First State Community Loan Fund and a bank?

The main difference is that First State CLF specializes in working with people or organizations that cannot obtain financing through conventional sources, such as banks and other lending institutions. First State CLF also provides Technical Assistance services to its clients.

What types of loans do you provide?

First State provides loans only for small businesses and community development. We do not provide personal loans or mortgage loans for individuals.

Does First State Community Loan Fund give out grants?

No. First State Community Loan Fund is a lender. We receive grants from various sources which enable us to offer the services that we provide. We do not issue grants to individuals. We do however, offer a special program called The Business Savers that provides matching dollars for money saved by you through the program.

If I want to start a business or get a business loan, where do I start?

Complete the online intake form or contact Rachel Baldini at 302-652-6774 or rbaldini@firststateloan.org.

What is your interest rate?

Our interest rates vary by product. Because we provide additional services that banks typically do not, our rates tend to be slightly higher than banks. You should expect that your First State CLF Community Lending Officer will discuss interest rates and loan terms with you.

Is my credit history important?

Credit history is one of the most important factors in making our decision to provide a loan. Credit history is the clearest indication we have of your willingness and ability to repay loans. However, we are willing to take into consideration extraordinary circumstances that may have damaged a previously good credit history.

Do I need collateral?

Yes, we will ask you to pledge your business and personal assets to secure a loan. Offering assets such as your automobile, home, or other real estate makes us feel that you are as confident in your business as you would like us to be.

Do I need a business plan?

A business plan is necessary for start-ups and can be very useful for existing businesses, especially when major changes are planned. A business plan does not have to be lengthy, but should outline your goals and business direction. If you need assistance with your business plan, contact Clinton Tymes at 302-652-6774 or ctymes@firststateloan.org.

How long does the approval process take?

This varies dependent on the size of the loan. Larger loans (over $50,000) must be approved by a loan committee which meets twice monthly. Remember, it is not possible for us to take the request to loan committee or make a determination until we receive all the information required in the application from you. The turnaround time will be dependent upon your ability to provide the necessary information in a timely fashion, but should be between 30-60 days.

If my loan request is approved, when can I expect to receive funding?

First State Community Loan Fund can typically close a loan within 2 weeks upon notifying the loan applicant of the approval based upon all approval conditions being met