Assembly Approves Expansion of the Linked Deposit Program

May 5, 2009

The State Assembly has approved legislation (A.2819/S.4436) that would allow qualifying businesses located in certain economically distressed areas to be eligible for business loans at the most beneficial interest rate provided through the state’s Excelsior Linked Deposit program. “Improving established initiatives like the Linked Deposit Program enables us to provide additional special help to small businesses across the state,” said Assemblyman Robin Schimminger.

“In 1993, I developed and sponsored the legislation that created the Linked Deposit Program,” said Schimminger, who chairs the Assembly Committee on Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry. “Over the years, I have continually reevaluated the program to make changes to update and streamline the program and maximize its benefits for businesses, including extending the availability of the loans, increasing both the maximum loan amount and the monies available for ‘linked’ loans, and extending the term of the loans."

The Linked Deposit Program encourages businesses to improve their performance and competitiveness by using state deposits to leverage low-cost loans. The loans are available through 74 lending institutions, including commercial banks, savings banks, savings and loan associations, farm credit institutions and the New York Business Development Corporation.

Currently, most qualifying businesses are eligible for a linked loan interest rate that is two percentage points lower than the prevailing rate on such loans. Eligible firms that qualify for a three-percent interest rate subsidy include certified small businesses located in state-designated Empire Zones and highly distressed areas, any certified minority or woman-owned business, and certain defense industry manufacturers. This bill includes in that list small businesses located in areas designated under the Federal Community Renewal Tax Relief Act of 2000 as federal Empowerment Zones, Enterprise Communities and Renewal Communities.

Currently, there are Urban Renewal Communities designated in Buffalo-Lackawanna, Niagara Falls, Rochester and Schenectady, a Rural Renewal Community designated in Jamestown, Urban Round III Empowerment Zones designated in Syracuse and Yonkers, and an Urban Round I Empowerment Zone in New York City.

“Since its inception, the Linked Deposit Program has funded more than 3,100 projects for a total amount of some $1.1 billion dollars, leveraging close to $2.3 billion dollars in new capital investment by businesses in New York State,” said Schimminger.