General Frequently Asked Questions

What is Valley Small Business Development Corporation?

Valley Small Business Development Corporation (VALLEY) was incorporated in 1981 as a nonprofit, public benefit, small business development corporation under section 14000 of the California Corporations Code. As such, Valley is authorized to make direct loans to farmers and small businesses in the Service Area, as well as to guarantee small businesses and family farms with increased access to capital through both such direct financing mechanisms. To further insure the successful completion of this mission, Valley collaborates with a wide variety of public and private financing institutions. Valley focuses all of our activities on our overall Service Area, which currently includes the following twelve Counties in the Central San Joaquin Valley: Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Stanislaus, Tulare, Tuolumne, Inyo, Mono, and Sacramento.

Valley’s office conducts a variety of financing related activities over the past forty years that focus on providing significant community and economic development benefits to the residents, family farmers, small businesses, and “Champion Communities” within our Service Area.

What is the difference between the State Loan Guarantee Program and your Direct Financing Programs?

The California Small Business Loan Guarantee Program provides up to an 80% loan guarantee to a participating commercial lending institution, Certified Financial Development Corporation (“CDFI”), and/or a credit union. The loan guarantee has a maximum of $2,500,000 to guarantee either a line of credit or term loan facility to promote small business and small farm enterprises. A special emphasis is placed on assistance to those small businesses that will create significant new job opportunities.

Other Direct Loan Programs are listed separately on this website. In most cases, Valley acts as an intermediary for other financial institutions, government agencies, or private lenders to lend funds to promote small business and small farm enterprises.

A Valley loan officer will review your application and determine which program best suits your needs.

Are these products a loan or a grant and do you have to pay them back?

All of Valley’s direct loan products are normal loans with a definitive repayment schedule secured by appropriate collateral. Valley does not offer grant programs at this time.

What is the maximum loan to value that Valley will loan on real estate loans?

Primarily, our real estate loans are based on cash flow and the applicant’s ability to repay the loan. Even though all of our agricultural real estate loans are secured with a 90% FSA loan guarantee, Valley can normally lend up to 60%-80% of a current appraised value on real estate.

Isn’t it hard to get an FSA Loan Guarantee for an agricultural loan?

No, relative to the required paperwork, it is not any different than obtaining a loan from any other institutions. What happens sometimes is that there are eligibility issues within the governmental regulations that prohibit the financing of some types of operations. Those eligibility issues can be reviewed at the Farm Service Agency website.

Do you make loans outside the Fresno area? If so where?

Generally speaking, our lending footprint encompasses the nine counties that make up the San Joaquin Valley – Stanislaus County is the furthest north and Kern County is the most Southerly County.

May I speak to a loan officer?

Yes, you may request to speak with a loan officer at any time by contacting our receptionist at (559) 438-9680.

May I make an appointment with a loan officer?

Yes – appointments are preferable to walk-in’s. However, it is normally best to speak with a loan officer beforehand prior to scheduling an appointment.

Do you have someone that can help me with a Business Plan?

We cannot help you with the preparation of a business plan. However, we can give you general guidance on what a business plan should entail and can refer you to people that can help with putting your business plan together. Some of our resource partners include SCORE and SBDC (see links below).

Do you need a Business Plan to complete the application online?

No. As you get deeper into the application process, a business plan may be required, depending on your circumstances.

My credit isn’t that good. Can I still apply for a loan?

You can always apply for a loan, but your credit history is a very important factor. A history of unsatisfactory credit may cause you to not qualify for the loan.

Do you use my credit score to qualify me for a loan?

No. We look at your credit score but we rely primarily on your history of handling credit, good or bad, in helping to determine if you qualify for the requested loan.

How long does the process take?

The application process is a two-step process: 1) The initial application is the first step and usually you should hear back from us within 5 business days; 2) The 2nd step is providing us with what we call a “full package” which includes business and personal income tax returns and financial statements, as well as a business plan, if required, and projections, if appropriate. The length of time this process takes is directly related to how complete you are in submitting the requested information. Usually within a week or less, we can give you an indication as to the likelihood of the loan request being approved.

What type of collateral do we look at?

Various types of business assets such as accounts receivable, inventory, equipment business and or personal real estate.

Do you do unsecured loans?

No, all loans require some kind of collateral.

Do you provide start-up financing?

Yes, however start-ups are looked at very carefully due to the additional risks they present compared with established businesses.

Can I finance my loan fees?

Yes, all the loan fees can be financed.

Can you do 100% project financing?

No. Generally, a minimum of a 20% injection by the borrower is required contingent upon the program.