Easy Access

A Better Place To Be

Slightly higher interest rates notwithstanding, most state economic development professionals, as well as entrepreneurs, agree that programs such as CAP are an efficient way for the government to help businesses get loans--especially when you consider there is almost no bureaucratic intervention in a CAP loan. In fact, Dahlin says, all that participating banks in his state need to do is fax him a one-page application, which enrolls each new loan in the program. "That's all there is to it," he says--assuming the bank doesn't call eligibility into question.

One of the reasons the CAP loan process is so simple is the participating government agency has very little at risk. It's very different from SBA-guaranteed loans, where the government is responsible for 75 to 80 percent of a loan's value. It's much more palatable when the government has little risk in promoting credit. According to Dahlin, for every dollar that the state of Oregon puts up for CAP reserve funds, another $23 comes from private sources.

Participating in CAPs is optional for banks in states that offer the program. Of the 60 or so banking companies in Oregon, for example, there are 30 enrolled in the program, Dahlin says. And of those 30, just 19 have made CAP loans.

For Dickson and his Medix Ambulance Service, none of these statistics matter. He's just glad there's a Capital Access Program to begin with. "I think the program is tremendous," he says. "Without it, I would have been stuck."

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This article was originally published in the November 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Easy Access.

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