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Notice

Maximum Portion of Guarantee Authority Available for Fiscal Year 2004

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AGENCY:

Rural Business-Cooperative Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

As set forth in 7 CFR part 4279, subpart B, each fiscal year the Agency shall establish a limit on the maximum portion of guarantee authority available for that fiscal year that may be used to guarantee loans with a guarantee fee of 1 percent or guaranteed loans with a guarantee percentage exceeding 80 percent.

Allowing the guarantee fee to be reduced to 1 percent or exceeding the 80 percent guarantee on certain guaranteed loans that meet the conditions set forth in 7 CFR 4279.107 and 4279.119 will increase the Agency's ability to focus guarantee assistance on projects which the Agency has found particularly meritorious, such as projects in rural communities that remain persistently poor, which experience long-term population decline and job deterioration, are experiencing trauma as a result of natural disaster, or are experiencing fundamental structural changes in the economic base.

Not more than 12 percent of the Agency's quarterly apportioned guarantee authority will be reserved for loan requests with a guarantee fee of 1 percent, and not more than 15 percent of the Agency's quarterly apportioned guarantee authority will be reserved for guaranteed loan requests with a guarantee percentage exceeding 80 percent. Once the above quarterly limits have been reached, all additional loans guaranteed during the remainder of that quarter will require a 2 percent guarantee fee and not exceed an 80 percent guarantee limit. As an exception to this paragraph and for the purposes of this notice, loans developed by the North American Development Bank (NADBank) Community Adjustment and Investment Program (CAIP) will not count against the 15 percent limit. Up to 50 percent of CAIP loans may have a guarantee percentage exceeding 80 percent. The funding authority for CAIP loans is not derived from carryover or recovered funding authority of the Business and Industry (B&I) Guaranteed Loan Program.

Written requests by the Rural Development State Office for approval of a guaranteed loan with a 1 percent guarantee fee or a guaranteed loan Start Printed Page 3876exceeding 80 percent must be forwarded to the National Office, Attn: Director, B&I Division, for review and consideration prior to obligation of the guaranteed loan. The Administrator will provide a written response to the State Office confirming approval or disapproval of the request.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

January 27, 2004.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Fred Kieferle, Processing Branch Chief, Business and Industry Division, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, USDA, Stop 3224, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, D.C. 20250-3224, telephone (202) 720-7818.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

This action has been reviewed and determined not to be a rule or regulation as defined in Executive Order 12866.

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Dated: January 15, 2004.

John Rosso,

Administrator.

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[FR Doc. 04-1633 Filed 1-26-04; 8:45 am]

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