Recent News Posts


  • Monday, July 21, 2014 8:46 AM

    At its July 17, 2014 meeting, the Board of Directors of the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) certified Maine New Markets Capital Investment Program applications related to investments planned for a biomass electricity facility, which is connected with a wood pellet company in Athens.  FAME’s actions will help spur investments in the Maine economy totaling more than $30 million and help to create and retain more than 200 Maine jobs in the Somerset County area.

     

    “FAME is pleased to assist Athens Energy, LLC, with certification of Maine New Markets tax credit investor applications as the company moves forward with its plans to attract low-cost capital and enhance their operations.  Our hope is for a stronger Maine economy through the creation and retention of Maine jobs,” stated FAME Chief Executive Officer Bruce Wagner.  

     

    The Maine New Markets Capital Investment Program provides refundable state tax credits of up to 39 percent to investors in qualified community development entities (CDEs) that reinvest in certain businesses in eligible low-income communities in Maine.  The program is modeled after the federal New Markets Tax Credit Program, and is administered by FAME in cooperation with Maine Revenue Services and the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development.  

     

    “FAME’s certification of these projects is an important step to spur further investment in this Maine-based business,” said Paul Hoffman, Managing Director of CCG Community Partners, LLC.  “The expected tax credits will not only help create jobs directly at these sites, they should also encourage other business development in the surrounding communities.” 

     

    CCG Community Partners, LLC, was previously approved by FAME for tax credit allocation under the Maine New Markets Capital Investment Credit Program.  The board in this case approved certification of applications by three subsidiaries of CCG: CCG Sub-CDE 25, LLC; CCG Sub-CDE 29, LLC; and CCG Sub-CDE 31, LLC, for investments totaling $30.3 million in Athens Energy, a sister company to the adjacent wood pellet manufacturer known as Maine Woods Pellet Company, LLC. 

     

    The proposed investments have been certified by FAME to be eligible for state tax credits totaling $12,133,333.33.  A portion of the investments is also eligible for federal new markets tax credits.  The investments will be in the form of loans to Athens Energy to be used for construction and equipping of a biomass electricity generator and the payment of transaction costs.  The investments also will help to expand the associated wood pellet production facility.  The tax credits will not be issued until the actual investments are made.

     


  • Thursday, July 10, 2014 9:39 AM

    At its May 15, 2014 meeting, the Board of Directors of FAME approved loan insurance on two Camden National Bank loans to Valley Bowl Corporation to assist with a planned bowling center, restaurant, and sports pub in Carrabassett Valley near Sugarloaf Mountain Resort.  In partnership with Camden National Bank, FAME’s financing is expected to help create approximately fifteen full-time, year-round Maine jobs.

     

    “FAME is pleased to support Valley Bowl Corp. with its development plans in Carrabassett Valley,” stated FAME Board Chair Ray Nowak.  "We hope this financial support not only assists in the direct creation of new jobs, but assists the Carrabassett Valley community's efforts to enhance its year-round economic vitality."
     
    Valley Bowl Corporation, d/b/a The SugarBowl, plans to construct and operate an 11,165 square-foot complex to include a ten-lane computerized bowling center, as well as a seventy-five seat restaurant and sports pub, arcade, and golf simulator on Route 27 in Carrabassett Valley.  FAME has agreed to insure two loans to help fund the purchase of land and existing buildings and help fund construction of the development.

     

    FAME’s Commercial Loan Insurance Program insures a portion of a loan to a business made by a participating financial institution.

     

    “We very much appreciate FAME’s support for the project and for the company’s plans for a new entertainment center and restaurant in Carrabassett Valley,” stated Kerry Audet, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of Valley Bowl Corporation.  “The SugarBowl will provide much-needed food and entertainment, as well as jobs, to the Sugarloaf area.”


  • Tuesday, June 24, 2014 3:10 PM

    At its June 19, 2014 meeting, the Board of Directors of the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME)approved financing assistance forFranklin Processing, Inc., which is located in Franklin, Maine. The company plans to redevelop a blueberry processing plant it acquired in June 2013. FAME’s actions will help the company create and retain approximately eight full-time Maine jobs, as well as up to fifty-five additional seasonal jobs related to processing and packing.

     

    “FAME is pleased to lend its support to the commercial financing package approved for Franklin Processing,” stated FAME Board Chair Ray Nowak. “Their plans are a very positive development for the local economy in the Hancock County area, and for the wild blueberry industry overall.”

     

    FAME’s Commercial Loan Insurance Program insures a portion of a loan to a business made by a participating financial institution. FAME approved 90% pro-rata insurance on two loans totaling $1.7 million by Camden National Bank to the company. The financing will help Franklin Processing to develop the processing plant and obtain a working line of credit for operations.

     

    “Camden National is happy to be partnering with FAME on this important project,” stated Derek Hayes, Vice President, Commercial Regional Manager at Camden National Bank. “This reinvestment in blueberry processing in the Franklin area will lead to good jobs and further strengthen the local economy.”

     

    “We very much appreciate FAME’s support for the project and for our company’s plans to process blueberries in Maine,” stated John Collins, President and Chief Executive Officer of Franklin Processing, Inc. “We look forward to being a good community member and to leveraging the skills and work ethic of local Mainers as we expand into the global market.”

     

    Also at the monthly board meeting, FAME approved bond financing totaling $103.4 million for MaineHealth, a nonprofit healthcare provider based in Portland. MaineHealth is the state’s largest healthcare provider and operates Maine Medical Center and a number of other hospitals and medical service providers throughout the state. FAME approved the issuance of non-recourse (or conduit) tax-exempt bonds to help finance a portion of the costs of implementing a new electronic medical records system to be used at all MaineHealth locations. The new system will help MaineHealth better manage its various information systems and better care for its patients. The project does not involve any liability or credit enhancement by FAME, and the bonds will be privately placed with TD Bank.

     

    “MaineHealth greatly appreciates FAME’s assistance in helping to finance this important medical information system,” stated Francis G. McGinty, Executive Vice President and Treasurer of MaineHealth. “Our new Shared Electronic Health Record (SeHR) System will help us realize our vision of ‘one patient, one record,’ and thereby help lower costs and improve the overall health of our patients.”

     

     

    FAME is a quasi-independent state agency that provides innovative financial solutions to help Maine people and businesses pursue educational and business opportunities. To learn more about FAME and its resources, please visit www.famemaine.com

    Posted in: FAME News

  • Tuesday, June 10, 2014 9:37 AM

    The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME), the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, and the Rhode Island Higher Education Assistance Authority have been selected through a competitive RFP process to participate in the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) Redesigning Student Aid in New England (Redesigning Aid) project, funded by Lumina Foundation. 

     

    NEBHE will help project participants explore the possible redesign and alignment of their student financial aid policies and programs by:

    • Conducting research to assess the impact of current state financial aid policies and programs on New England students and families; 
    • Hosting regional meetings on student financial aid redesign and facilitating regional dialogue on financial aid and college affordability; and 
    • Contracting with nationally recognized financial aid redesign consultants to provide additional support to project participants in their redesign efforts.

     

    Additionally, NEBHE plans to invite other New England states to regional student financial aid gatherings to engage in a broader conversation about college affordability and the redesign of policies and programs that support greater student access and completion

     

    “FAME is pleased to have been chosen to be part of this important project,” stated FAME Chief Executive Officer Bruce Wagner. “In an age of increased college costs, limited state investment in financial aid programs, and the ever-growing importance of higher education attainment, we are eager to maximize Maine’s student aid programs for the benefit of  Maine students.  We are grateful to both NEBHE and Lumina Foundation for this opportunity.” 

     

    "NEBHE is enthusiastic about working with these three organizations to identify strategies for using state aid programs to strengthen college affordability," said NEBHE President and CEO Michael K. Thomas. "We appreciate the interest and commitment of these three states and recognize Lumina's generous support for this groundbreaking work."

     

    About FAME:

    FAME is a quasi-independent state agency that provides innovative financial solutions to help Maine people and businesses pursue educational and business opportunities. To learn more about FAME and its resources, please visit www.famemaine.com

     

    About NEBHE:

    Founded in 1955 by six visionary New England governors, NEBHE brings together leaders of education, higher education, government, business and labor to forge partnerships and advance ideas that enhance the economy and quality of life in the six-state region and around the world. NEBHE works to increase the education opportunities for New England residents and to promote collaboration among the region's colleges and universities to expand access, success, affordability and the economic impact of higher education.

     

    About Lumina Foundation:

    Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation committed to increasing the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees, certificates and other credentials to 60% by 2025. Lumina's outcomes-based approach focuses on helping to design and build an accessible, responsive and accountable higher education system while fostering a national sense of urgency for action to achieve Goal 2025. For more information, visit http://www.luminafoundation.org.

     


  • Thursday, May 01, 2014 10:08 AM

    The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) is pleased to announce the launching of improvements to its popular and successful OnLine Application (OLA) product.  OLA is a faster, easier, and lower-cost way for authorized lenders to apply for loan insurance.

     

    The new features should provide for a better customer experience, with easier user interface and a variety of enhancements.  The enhancements include:  one scrolling entry screen, automatic calculation of debt service coverage, and streamlined entry for existing debt refinancing.  Also available through the Website is an enhanced OLA training tutorial and user manual.  OLA will continue to provide financial institutions with nearly instantaneous loan decisions and personal follow-up from a FAME lender, if needed.

     

    “FAME is pleased to offer an improved OLA application process for our lending partners,” stated FAME Chief Executive Officer Bruce Wagner.  “We know how important it is for our customers to obtain quick responses to their applications.  OLA is FAME’s fastest growing product and quite popular with our customers.”

     

    FAME’s Commercial Loan Insurance Program, utilizing the OLA product, insures up to 75% of up to $250,000 of FAME insurance exposure for a loan to a business made by a participating financial institution.  


  • Thursday, April 17, 2014 3:05 PM

    The Board of Directors of the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) today approved new financing for Thermogen I, LLC, an entity with plans to develop a black pellet mill at the former Great Northern Paper mill in Millinocket.  The project is expected to help to create 55 direct jobs and approximately 281 indirect jobs in the region.  

     

    Thermogen I, LLC, a subsidiary of Cate Street Capital of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is an energy company with plans to construct a black pellet mill using a thermal treatment process.

     

    Members of the FAME Board noted that the project has the potential to boost the area and state economy while supporting Maine’s traditional natural resources and manufacturing industries.  The $16 million taxable bond will be supported by the moral obligation of the state.  

     

    “FAME is pleased to be part of the financing for this new project, which makes use of innovative technology and Maine’s natural resources, and further promises considerable export value,” stated Bruce Wagner, FAME’s Chief Executive Officer. “We wish Cate Street and the people of the Katahdin region every success as the project moves forward.”

    The $16 million in authorized bond financing utilizes FAME’s Major Business Expansion Bond Program.  Administered by FAME, the program provides long-term, financing with interest rates enhanced by the support of the moral obligation of the state for businesses creating or retaining fifty jobs.

     

    In considering an application under the Major Business Expansion Bond Program, the Board is required under the governing statute to find that the applicant is creditworthy and that there is a “strong likelihood” that the securities will be repaid through the revenues of the project and any other sources of revenues and collateral pledged to the repayment of the bond securities.  

     

    Among the conditions imposed as part of the approval by the FAME Board are the requirements that any outstanding property taxes owed to the towns of Millinocket and East Millinocket be paid, and that any other liens against collateral for the bond be satisfied.

     

    In August 2013, FAME authorized the issuance of up to $15.7 million dollars in state New Markets Tax Credits for the Thermogen project’s investors, and in December 2012, FAME approved $14 million in New Markets Tax Credits to investors in the related GNP East Millinocket mill project.

     


  • Monday, March 24, 2014 8:57 AM

    At its March 20, 2014 meeting, the Board of Directors of the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) approved bond financing for St. Croix Tissue, Inc., which is located in Baileyville. The proceeds will be used to partially finance the purchase and installation of two new, large tissue-making machines. FAME’s actions will help St. Croix and a related company, Woodland Pulp, LLC, create and retain approximately 450 Maine jobs. 

     

    “FAME is pleased to support St. Croix tissue with its plans for growth and success” stated FAME Chief Executive Officer Bruce Wagner. “We know how important it is for the company to invest in value-added products and remain competitive in the global market. FAME’s financing should also help provide a much-needed boost for the Washington County economy.”

     

    St. Croix Tissue, Inc. will operate on a portion of the Woodland Pulp, LLC mill site in Baileyville. Its parent company, International Grand Investment Corporation, which also owns Woodland Pulp, recently announced plans to invest over $120 million in the new tissue machine project at the Baileyville mill, of which the FAME financing will be a part.

     

    FAME approved the issuance of a $7.5 million taxable bond supported by the moral obligation of the state through its Major Business Expansion Program. The financing will help to create eighty direct jobs at the mill and an additional eighty indirect jobs in the area. It also will help its related company to retain the 300 existing jobs at the Woodland Pulp facility. 

     

    FAME’s Major Business Expansion Bond Program provides long-term, credit-enhanced financing up to $25 million for certain eligible businesses. An applicant must be determined by FAME to be creditworthy and there must be a strong likelihood that the bonds will be repaid through the revenues of the project and any other sources of revenues and collateral pledged to the repayment of those securities.  

     

    “We very much appreciate FAME’s support for the project and for the company’s plans for growth and success in the worldwide tissue market,” stated Bert Martin, Director of Woodland Pulp and St. Croix Tissue.

     

    This is not the first financing FAME has approved for the project. In November 2013, FAME authorized the issuance of Maine New Markets Capital Investment Program tax credits for three Qualified Community Development Entities planning investments in St. Croix Tissue, Inc. The credits, in total exceeding $15.6 million, are part of the overall financing package being used to fund the expansion and renovation of a building at the mill complex and to install the two tissue-making machines. 

     

    Also, in April 2011 FAME approved loan insurance on a Machias Savings Bank construction loan for Woodland Pulp, LLC to build a natural gas pipeline connector and convert the mill from oil to natural gas. The loan insurance was never used by the company, however, and the construction was completed without the FAME assistance.

     

    Posted in: FAME News, Business News

  • Wednesday, March 12, 2014 8:32 AM

    The Maine Senate recently confirmed Gov. LePage’s six nominees (two reappointments and four new members) to the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) Board of Directors. The six board members are: Jonathan A. Block of Portland; Reis Hagerman of Standish; James G. Howard of Topsham; Gregory E. Miller of Old Town; Rosaire Pelletier of Madawaska; and James P. Violette, Jr. of Waterville. Upon swearing in, the new members will join the fifteen-member FAME Board.   

     

    Jonathan Block of Portland is a tax attorney and partner with the law firm of Pierce Atwood, LLP. He received his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and his law degree from the University of Maine School of Law. He also earned an L.L.M. in Taxation at Boston University School of Law. Block does extensive work helping business and individual clients navigate the tax code and various economic development incentives.

     

    Reis Hagerman of Standish is Dean of Campus Life at St. Joseph’s College in Standish. He received his B.A. from Saint. Joseph’s College and earned an M.B.A. from Rivier College. Hagerman recently completed his first term on the FAME Board and has over twenty-five years of higher education experience. He is a former Director of the former Maine Education Assistance Division at FAME.

     

    Jim Howard of Topsham has more than thirty years of experience building businesses and employing Maine people. He is the president and chief executive officer of Priority Real Estate Group and is active in his community. Howard has a keen understanding of the lending industry and economic development.

     

    Greg Miller of Old Town is currently working in student affairs at Eastern Maine Community College. He earned a B.A. from Wagner College and a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Maine. Miller previously was employed at the United Technologies Center in Bangor where he was Dean of Students and later Director. Miller has been heavily involved in the development and operation of The Bridge Year Program. He is a Registered Maine Guide and active in his community.

     

    Rosaire Pelletier of Madawaska currently serves as Senior Forest Products Advisor for the state within the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development. He has more than forty years of experience in financial management of the pulp and paper industry. He is being reappointed to the FAME Board following completion of his first term. 

     

    Jay Violette of Waterville is a senior loan officer in the commercial division at TD Bank, N.A. He earned his B.A. at Colby College and earned an M.B.A. in finance from New York University. Violette has more than thirty years of banking experience. He is active in his community and a member of the Waterville Development Corporation.

     


  • Thursday, March 06, 2014 9:29 AM

    FAME is pleased to welcome new Chief Executive Officer Bruce Wagner. The Maine Senate recently voted unanimously to confirm Gov. LePage’s nomination of Bruce to the position, which is for a term of four years.

     

    Bruce has a strong background in business management, development and renewal, having served as W.R. Grace’s President of the Darex Container Products Division, as chief executive officer at Barber Foods, and as chief financial officer at Martin’s Point Health Care. A graduate of Lafayette College, he also has completed advanced management programs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at INSEAD, the French international business school.  

     

    Bruce directed the MIT-affiliated Center for Quality Management, where he worked with companies as diverse as the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Analog Devices, and Martin’s Point Health Care to develop and deploy business strategies and processes that deliver superior business performance. Bruce subsequently founded Traverse CEO, LLC, a business consulting firm specializing in rescuing and renewing businesses. In his role at Traverse, Bruce helped to rebuild Barber Foods in Portland and save Maine jobs, and also helped Northern Maine Medical Center in Fort Kent to create a new operating plan that allowed the hospital to obtain critical financing for a new biomass boiler system.

     

    “I am honored to have been chosen for this important role and look forward to collaborating with FAME’s excellent board and staff to continue and expand the agency’s mission of making business and education work for Maine,” stated Wagner.  

     

    Wagner has served on the board of directors of Woodard & Curran, Mercy Hospital, the Portland Community Health Center, and the Maine State Chamber of Commerce. He lives with his wife, Kathi, in North Yarmouth, and is the father of four children and has four grandchildren. In his spare time, Bruce enjoys carpentry, playing the piano, recreating in Maine’s great outdoors, and spending time with his family.

     

    “FAME is fortunate to have someone of Bruce’s background taking the helm of the agency. His strong business and financial background, coupled with his integrity and concern for people and FAME’s mission, make him an ideal choice for CEO,” stated Ray Nowak, FAME Board Chair.

     


  • Thursday, February 20, 2014 10:50 AM

    The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) is participating in this year’s “America Saves Week” campaign to help Maine students and families successfully manage their finances, save for the future, and reduce student loan debt. 


    Observed this year from February 24 – March 1, America Saves Week (www.americasaves.org) is a national campaign designed to raise public awareness about the importance of saving, investing, and preparing for future needs. The national campaign is sponsored by the American Savings Education Council.


    To highlight America Saves Week, FAME is reminding Mainers of the availability of its financial education resources, including Maine’s college savings program, the NextGen College Investing Plan® (NextGen®). Throughout the week, FAME will utilize social media to encourage Maine families to save and spend wisely.

     

    To join FAME’s Facebook page, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/FinanceAuthorityMaine.


    “FAME offers extensive financial education resources to assist individuals in gaining a better understanding of borrowing, saving, and investing. We encourage Maine students and families to begin saving for college early and to explore all financial aid options as ways to limit student loan debt,” stated Mary Dyer, FAME Financial Education Specialist. Dyer also serves as President of the Maine Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy.


    In partnership with the Maine Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, The Maine Office of Securities, The Maine Credit Union League, and others, FAME is sponsoring the upcoming Fostering Financial Education in Maine Schools Conference on May 8, 2014 at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, Maine. This fifth annual training conference will bring together educators, administrators and counselors who are dedicated to improving the financial capability of Maine students.  For more information about the conference, please visit: http://www.jumpstart.org/states-maine.html