On the first official day of the new year, Missouri Treasurer Vivek Malek started taking applications for low-interest loans from small companies, farmers, and affordable housing projects totaling $120 million. The state subsidizes these loans.
The Federal Reserve’s significant interest rate rises made loans for almost everything more costly, including seed money for farmers and capital for firms looking to grow. As a result, interest in obscure state initiatives that lend low-interest capital to private investors has risen throughout the United States.
Banks get state funds deposited into them at interest rates below market value via so-called linked deposit schemes. Typically, borrowers in the agricultural or small business sectors are the ones who get the short-term, low-interest loans made possible by banks using this money. The initiatives may save them thousands of dollars by lowering borrowers’ interest rates by an average of two to three percentage points. Due to the reduced revenue for the state, states usually limit the amount of funds available for such discounted rates to a certain monetary number or a percentage of their overall fund balances. Thanks to tax income generated during the epidemic, some states have amassed sizable surpluses, giving them more funds to put into savings accounts.
There has been a significant increase from previous years, with approximately $950 million in deposits connected to low-interest loans for people, companies, and farms in Missouri. Two low-interest loans were available under the state’s agricultural investment program in 2022. Loans totaling $51 million were extended by 2022. Illinois deposited $667 million for agricultural loans last year at low-interest rates. The total cap of the program has increased from $1 billion to $1.5 billion not long ago in response to increasing demand.
The program in New York has likewise seen a dramatic increase in applications—forty-two requests for $20 million in low-interest loans at New York’s state-run banks in 2022. Three hundred seventeen applications involving over $220 million in loans were received last year.
An expansion of the program’s maximum from $800 million to $1.2 billion, or a 50% increase in capacity, is supported by legislation from the Missouri treasurer’s office. The expansion can potentially drain $12 million from the state’s coffers, but the stimulus from the loans may make up for some of that.