A newly introduced House bill would implement an ICBA proposal to speed up approval times for USDA loans and thereby enhance access to credit in rural communities.

Details: The USDA Express Loan Act (H.R. 5877), introduced by Reps. Brad Finstad (R-Minn.) and Angie Craig (D-Minn.), would create a new loan guarantee program in which borrowers hear back from the USDA within 36 hours of a submitting an application. The legislation, which is designed to be included in the pending 2023 farm bill, would cap loans at $1 million with a 50-75% guarantee, as ICBA proposed.

Background: ICBA testified before Congress on the proposal earlier this year. Testifying before the Senate Agriculture Committee’s subcommittee on commodities, Verlin “Gus” Barker of First Community Bank in Newell, Iowa, said the ICBA-proposed USDA Express program would improve access to timely credit for family farmers and ranchers.

Grassroots: Community bankers can use ICBA’s Be Heard grassroots action center to urge their members of Congress to include its six key principles in this year’s farm bill.