USDA accepting online farm loan applications

6 months ago
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USDA has launched an online application for direct loan processing, allowing more than 26,000 customers who apply each year to use an interactive guided online application.

The new online platform provides helpful features — including an electronic signature option, the ability to attach supporting documents such as tax returns, complete a balance sheet and build a farm operating plan.

This tool is part of a broader effort by USDA’s Farm Service Agency to streamline its processes, improve customer service and expand credit access, Deputy Secretary Xochitl Torres Small says.

“Online services are commonplace in commercial lending, and with USDA Farm Service Agency’s new online loan application feature, it is now easier for producers to get the financing they need to start, expand or maintain their operations,” Small says.

The online farm loan application replicates the support an applicant would receive when completing a loan application in person with an FSA farm loan officer, while continuing to provide customers with one-on-one assistance as needed.

The new tool and other process improvements are also expected to reduce the number of incomplete and withdrawn applications.

Through a personalized dashboard, borrowers can track the progress of their loan application. It can be accessed on farmers.gov or by completing FSA’s Loan Assistance Tool at farmers.gov/loan-assistance-tool.

To use the online loan application tool, producers must establish a USDA customer account and a USDA Level 2 eAuthentication (“eAuth”) account or a Login.gov account.

For the initial stage, the online application tool is only available for producers who will be, or are currently, operating their farm as an individual.

FSA is expanding the tool’s availability to married couples applying jointly and other legal entities in 2024.

Small says that FSA has a significant initiative underway to streamline and automate farm loan program customer-facing business processes.

For the more than 26,000 producers who submit a direct loan application to FSA annually, and its 85,000 direct loan borrowers, FSA has made improvements this year, including:

Small says FSA continues to accept and review individual requests for assistance from qualifying borrowers to avoid delinquency on their direct FSA loans, or those who were unable to make a recent installment or are unable to make their next scheduled installment for installments through Jan. 15.

All requests for assistance must be received by Dec. 31. For more information, or to submit a request for assistance, producers can contact their local USDA service center or visit farmers.gov.

The Inflation Reduction Act provided $3.1 billion in relief funding for distressed borrowers with certain FSA direct and guaranteed loans and to expedite assistance for those whose agricultural operations are at financial risk.

Small says that USDA has provided about $1.6 billion in assistance to more than 27,000 distressed direct and guaranteed FSA loan borrowers since October 2022.…Read more by

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