Shouldn’t the Illinois treasurer’s office have low-interest loans available to help small businesses?
It does – in fact it has too many, says state Treasurer Michael W. Frerichs. “Over the last couple of decades, there have been somewhere around 45 different linked-deposit accounts, or re-branding of previous linked-deposit accounts. That can be a little confusing when there’s a bunch of different things to sell, and our partners in banking, we want to make it easier for them, but we also think that we can do something to help our small businesses,” he said.
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A linked deposit program allows banks to offer loans at discounted rates to under-served businesses, such as small businesses, farms and non-profits, and make up for the lower interest rate by receiving deposits of state assets at below-market rates. Frerichs also says with interest rates so low already, it’s hard to offer anyone a meaningful discount without giving away the state’s money.
A particularly successful program, Frerichs says, is Ag Invest, dating to 1983, which has helped family farmers with $1 billion in loans for operating costs and equipment purchases.