General Information

The purpose of the Economic Development Loan Program is to provide low-interest and zero-interest loans to promote economic development through job creation in or near rural areas served by Great Lakes Energy

Overview of Loan Programs

GLE administers two separate loan programs:

Loans are available to qualified applicants through one or more of the programs up to a cumulative maximum of $2 million.

GLE partners with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on the zero interest loan program, with a pre-application submitted to GLE by the loan applicant and a subsequent full application submitted to USDA upon approval by GLE’s Board of Directors. If USDA approves the application, they loan funds to GLE, who in turn loans funds to the ultimate borrower.

Loans from GLE’s RLF are made upon approval by GLE’s Board of Directors in accordance with federal guidelines.

Because it is GLE’s role in its loan programs to provide supplemental financing for a project and not to compete with standard financial institutions, the applicant must obtain funding for up to 50 percent of a project through a standard financial institution. Guidelines for each program dictate the levels of outside funding and equity required in order for a project to be considered for a loan.

In that GLE is responsible to USDA for repayment of zero interest loan funds, and because GLE members would bear the cost of any defaulted loan, creditworthiness of the loan applicant must be sufficient to qualify for any loans available through GLE.

Since loan program activity is too intermittent for GLE to dedicate an employee to loan program administration, GLE depends on the expertise of an outside consultant to ensure that loan applications meet program guidelines and are professionally presented. Applicants are required to retain the professional economic development loan services of Northern Lakes Economic Alliance (NLEA) at their expense for loan application purposes. Contact NLEA at 231-582-6482.

GLE has provided business loans since the mid-1990s totaling in excess of $3 million dollars that have brought hundreds of jobs and economic growth to rural Michigan.

Loan Program Criteria

GLE is obligated to judge loan applications as objectively as possible based on the primary criteria of potential for job creation and the applicant’s creditworthiness.

By USDA guidelines, GLE may not base approval of a loan application on whether GLE will be the electric provider for a project.

Residential projects are not eligible for GLE loans.

Each loan program differs in minimum and maximum amounts available, financing mix (GLE loan amounts/standard financing required/equity level), terms (interest rate and repayment length), fees, and counties covered. For further information on specific loan programs or to obtain a pre-application package for a GLE loan, contact the GLE Economic Development Coordinator listed below.

Loan Program Contact:
Mary Smith, Economic Development Coordinator
Great Lakes Energy, P.O. Box 70, Boyne City, MI 49712
1-888-485-2537 ext. 8957
msmith@glenergy.com