USDA launches "all hands" effort to spend Section 502 direct

August 20, 2015 – With about six weeks remaining in Fiscal Year 2015, USDA Rural Development has obligated 69.4 percent of its Section 502 direct loan funds. The department was unable to use all of its 502 direct money in the last few years, and has taken steps to facilitate loan processing before FY15 ends on September 30.

A letter from RD Under Secretary Lisa Mensah reminds all RD employees of temporary measures available to speed loan processing, some of which are explained further in Unnumbered Letters posted here and here. Loans can be obligated subject to obtaining an acceptable appraisal. Also, loans for new construction can be obligated subject to obtaining a Plan Certification, Form RD 1924-25, which must be completed by a plan reviewer such as a licensed architect, a local building official, or other source acceptable to USDA stating that the construction plans and specifications meet the appropriate building codes and standards. Even with the temporary “subject to” provisions, appraisals and plan certifications will still be required before loan closing. 

Overtime funds have been authorized to assure field staff are available to process the loan applications already received, as well as any new requests.

The agency also seeks help from local partners, including submission of new applications. Funds were divided among states earlier in the fiscal year but are now available in all states on a first-come, first-served basis.

For information about submitting an application or speeding processing of a request already made, contact a state or local USDA RD office. To receive updates from USDA, sign up for notices from its single-family email list.