Portage Treasurer Announces $2 Million Discount Loan Program
Portage GrowLink delivers aid to local homeowners, small businesses and family farms.
RAVENNA, OH – Portage County homeowners looking to make energy efficiency improvements, small businesses looking to create or retain jobs, and family farms looking for cost-effective ways to manage expenses have a new tool for doing so, thanks to a new partnership announced today between the Portage County Treasurer’s Office and three local community banks.
Portage GrowLink, a program initiated by Treasurer Brad Cromes and approved by county commissioners this spring, makes up to $2 million dollars available for lending at discounted rates from Hometown Bank, Middlefield Banking Company, and Portage Community Bank. Borrowers can receive up to 3% off the loan interest rate they would otherwise qualify for, for up to 5 years. After the discount period, interest rates return to market levels at the time of the loan.
Portage GrowLink will fund home energy efficiency improvements up to $25,000 per borrower, family farm operating loans of up to $50,000 per borrower, and small business loans of up to $250,000 per borrower. The program also contains a “veterans preference,” which during times of high demand will give veterans of the United States armed services preferred access to lending.
In exchange for reduced interest rates on loans made under the program, the Treasurer’s Office will purchase investments with each lender at a similarly discounted rate. The amount of the loan discount and investment interest rate will be determined by a formula, and funds will be supplied “just in time” to support lending. The program is based on similar programs offered by the Ohio Treasurer of State and structured to mirror the terms of those programs.
Portage GrowLink replaces the Portage County Home Improvement Program, which had been in effect since 2015 and was limited to home loans.
When asked why the County chose to replace the older program, Treasurer Cromes said “Portage GrowLink gives us a tool to not only help homeowners get projects done, but also to support the small businesses and family farms that make Portage County thrive.” While the program requires the County to take a short-term reduction in its investment income, Cromes asserts that reduction will be recouped. “What we give up in interest income we regain in community investment. Making sure residents have the resources they need to maintain and improve their property and create jobs benefits all of us.”
To sign up for the program, residents may complete an application at the Hometown Bank and Portage Community Bank branches in Ravenna and Kent, or the Middlefield Banking Company branch in Mantua. Once approved, borrowers have one year to complete their projects and submit receipts to the Treasurer’s Office.
For more information about Portage GrowLink, please call the Treasurer’s Office at 330-297-3586, Hometown Bank at 330-677-6026, Middlefield Banking Company at 330-247-0881, or Portage Community Bank at 330-296-8090. You can also find additional information on the Treasurer’s website, https://www.portagecounty-oh.gov/treasurer-brad-cromes-cgfm, under the “Treasurer Programs” tab.