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Schmitt seeks to make state loan program more accessible

Missouri  Treasurer Eric Schmitt announces changes in Missouri's Linked Deposit Program on March 22, 2018, in St. Louis.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio
Missouri Treasurer Eric Schmitt, in St. Louis Thursday, announces changes in Missouri's Linked Deposit Program in St. Louis.

Missouri Treasurer Eric Schmitt is expanding a program that delivers low-interest loans to businesses.

Schmitt was in St. Louis on Thursday to announce changes in Missouri’s Linked Deposit Program. That program places state money into banks, and those dollars can then be used for low-interest loans.

Among other things, Schmitt is making the program easier to apply for — and allowing businesses to seek another loan after five years. He said it's part of what he called the Missouri FIRST (Financing Investment in our Rural, Small Business and Technology communities) initiative.   

“And if a business is doing well and they want to re-up, they were prohibited before for no really good reasons,” Schmitt said. “So those are some of the administrative changes we heard from banks, we heard from businesses and farmers.”

Schmitt also announced he’s expanding the eligibility criteria for agricultural loans.

“Internally, we’re making it more efficient,” he said. “I think it’s easier to use and more accessible. And I think it’s going to play an important role in small-business development.”  

In addition to providing loans to businesses and farms, the Linked Deposit Program also lends money to local governments. Schmitt said there’s about $720 million of state money available through the program.

Follow Jason on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.