Revolving loan fund
The Revolving Loan Fund’s (RLF) primary goal is job creation and protection. It is a federally initiated, state-backed program designed to assist businesses whose projects should improve the tri-county economy. Eligible uses for loans include the purchase of equipment and land and the improvement of real estate and building facilities.
Despite its federal oversight, the program remains locally controlled. The people who make the decisions on project funding are Charleston area business people, community leaders and bankers. The Revolving Loan Fund specializes in gap financing, or resolving cash shortages that would prevent a successful closing.
The first Revolving Loan Fund was created in 1990 in the wake of Hurricane Hugo. To help the region recover from the storms’ financial devastation, the US Economic Development Administration agreed to put forth 75% of a $500,000 fund. The state responded by supplying the 25% match. When the region’s economy was rocked once more by the closure of the Charleston Naval Base and Shipyard in 1994, the EDA and the state again answered the call by creating a second fund, this time worth $1 million.
The RLF has loaned out a total of $6.3 million to 51 business through the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester area. Those investments have translated into 2,300 jobs being retained or created. That translates into only $2,739 per job, or 3.7 jobs for every $10,000 loaned. By comparison, the EDA stipulated that RLFs shall spend no more than $10,000 per single job created or saved.