The Lehigh Valley Lending Network (LVLN) is an outgrowth of the Peer Review Program (PRP) developed by Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) and the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley (CACLV) in 2010. It was renamed the Lehigh Valley Lending Network in 2011. The initial intent of the program was to provide a forum where members, primarily made up of commercial lending institutions, could bring rejected, but marginal, financing prospects before the group to see if one or more of their peers could offer a solution to the borrower’s needs. This “peer review” program was a reaction to the economic recession and was aimed at trying to improve access to credit for small businesses in the Lehigh Valley.
In 2012, it became increasingly clear that the peer review aspect of the program was no longer necessary. Banks were flush with capital and proactively looking for opportunities to deploy such capital to credit worthy borrowers.
In late 2012, the LVEDC Finance Department began to consider new ways to utilize the LVLN. This process led to repurposing the program to focus on creating efficiencies in accessing credit within the private commercial lending community and to maximize the use of incentive resources, made available through the economic development community. The thought being, that by allowing creditworthy borrowers easy access to all of the financing options available in the community, be they public, private, for-profit or not-for-profit, we could help them obtain the best possible financing for their project in the shortest amount of time.
Lehigh Valley Lending Network Overview
LVEDC has developed a comprehensive network to allow business financing requests to be broadcast to a multitude of commercial lending institutions and economic development resource providers, simultaneously; thus, allowing for expedited loan review and approval, resulting in the best possible financing structure for any given business need. The membership of the LVLN is comprised of private commercial lending institutions and economic development resource providers serving the Lehigh Valley. A secure web-based document management system distributes financing requests to the membership.
The LVLN is more than a resource at LVEDC. It is the centerpiece of the Finance Department and will be continually emphasized in marketing efforts related to LVEDC’s financing endeavors. It is believed, this is the most important financing resource – a single point of access to the majority of Lehigh Valley business lenders with opportunities to benefit from the best terms and the lowest financing rates available. LVEDC not only manages the LVLN and the distribution of related information, LVEDC is a member. The financing programs that LVEDC administers are under the umbrella of the LVLN, as sources of funding that might be marshaled to assist in a given project.
Members of the LVLN will benefit from additional loan volume derived from participation in the program and will be highlighted individually on an ongoing basis in the marketing of the program, as well as, promoted as civic-minded organizations with a deep interest in strengthening the region.
In addition to providing an efficient network to match borrowers and lenders, LVEDC will be providing basic financial review of the prospects for the LVLN to offer the members access to pre-qualified leads.
Benefits to the Borrower
First and foremost, the LVLN is about assisting clients by quickly identifying the best sources of financing available to support their project. However, the complete benefits of the network to the clients are numerous:
It is important to acknowledge that it is expressly understood that the intent of the LVLN is NOT to disturb relationships between LVLN clients and their existing financial institutions. If an existing satisfactory banking relationship is in place, the LVLN may still be used to gauge interest from community and economic development lenders in supporting the proposed project.
Accessing the Network
Borrowers will be provided access to the LVLN in one of the ways outlined below. The borrower will determine, at their sole discretion, which way would be best suited to meet their needs:
While the LVLN offers clients access to all of the lenders in the network, should they so desire, we will also offer the ability for the borrower to select individual lending institutions they would like to solicit. In this context, we will be asking all of the LVLN lenders to provide detailed information about their institutions, their service-territories and their products and services, so the borrower can make an informed decision as to the institutions that are best suited to meet their needs.
LVEDC may provide counseling on which external economic development resources might be of interest to the client, but will not offer recommendations of private lending institutions – other than to tout the members of the LVLN and their investment and dedication to business growth in the region.
It is important to note, that LVEDC will only refer clients (that are requesting referrals to banks/lending institutions) to members of the LVLN.
The Credit Inquiry Process
LVEDC will distribute a uniform package for each Borrower, using the aforementioned document management system. This information package will provide the requisite information necessary for each lender in the LVLN to assess a level of interest in financing the project. This web-based system will allow for interaction between LVLN members and LVEDC Finance Department representatives, should the base information provided not be sufficient, we can provide for additional material to allow the assessment process to be completed. The data will be housed in a secured Microsoft cloud-based server and will be accessible to members of the network according to the choices the Borrower makes in routing the information. Below is an outline of the process that will be used in working with clients of the LVLN.
a) The client is giving permission to distribute their information to the LVLN;
b) Application is not an application for credit;
c) The client will determine which lending institutions it will ultimately approach with the project and each lending institution will need to complete their review prior to expressing interest.
*See the attached request forms.
As stated above, membership to the LVLN will include community and economic development lenders, as well as, commercial lending and banking institutions. The community and economic development lenders are considered to be “de facto” members of the LVLN, as they are non-profit community-based organizations focused on community and economic development and we actively refer prospects to these organizations when the project merits their involvement. Banks and commercial lending institutions will need to pay an annual membership fee to be a member of the LVLN.
Benefits of Membership
Private lending institutions who are members of LVLN will receive a number of benefits from their involvement in the program:
For more information, please contact:
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