To ensure the broadest access for Maine businesses to the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) funds through Grow Maine, FAME is partnering with entities like you – Community Development Financial Institutions, local and municipal economic development organizations, commercial banks, savings institutions, credit unions, and other lenders across the state to provide direct loans and loan guarantees.

Direct Loans

Direct loans will be deployed through FAME and local participating agencies. Loans up to $5 million are available, with interest rates to be set by the participating lending institution. The maximum loan amount of $5 million can be a part of a project, which cannot exceed $20 million. Terms and structure are set by the lender. Annual fee is 0.75% of funds advanced in the prior year (not cumulative).

Commercial Loan Insurance

You work hard to help your customers access the capital they need to grow. Through Grow Maine, FAME is administering commercial loan insurance (CLI) supported by SSBCI to help you make business loans by reducing your risk.

Commercial loan insurance will be deployed through FAME’s OnLine Answer (OLA) portal. Up to 80% commercial loan insurance is available, with a cap of $1.5 million when using OLA.

Although FAME CLI is always available, using SSBCI insurance helps you provide more favorable terms for your clients. Term/amortization and rate are set by the lender. Commitment fee is waived on all SSBCI insurance.

Insurance TypesInsurance %Annual
GeneralProgram LimitsPro Rata LeveragedUp to 80% Pro Rata
Up to 20-25% Leveraged
Standard Fee less 0.25%
VS & SEDI (micro 1)<$75,000Pro RataUp to 80% Pro RataStandard Fee less 0.50%
(micro 2)
Pro RataUp to 50% Pro RataStandard Fee less 0.50%
VS & SEDI (other)Program LimitsPro Rata LeveragedUp to 80% Pro Rata
Up to 20-25% Leveraged
Standard Fee less 0.50%
Very Small (VS) = less than 10 employees
Socially and economically disadvantaged individuals (SEDI)
Maximum Leveraged insurance is 25% on term loans and 20% on lines of credit
Maximum ProRata exposure in OLA is $1.5 million; for leveraged insurance, the OLA limit is $500,000

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Maine businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 750 employees
  • Eligible Purposes: Support loans or investments/projects up to $20 million for legal business purposes, including but not limited to the following:
    • Start-up costs
    • Working capital
    • Business procurement
    • Franchise fees
    • Equipment
    • Inventory
    • Purchases of owner-occupied non-investment real estate (commercial or otherwise)
    • Purchase, construction, renovation, or improvements of an eligible place of business
  • Ineligible Purposes:
    • Refinancing existing debt where SSBCI would replace private funds
    • Reimbursement of funds owed by any owner
    • Repayment of delinquent state or federal income taxes
    • Financing a non-business purpose
    • Supporting an existing extension of credit
    • Security purchases
    • Acquisition or holding of any other real property for investment purposes
    • Lobbying activities
    • Owner buyouts or equity substitution, except situations resulting in employee ownership
  • Ineligible Business Types: real estate investment, speculative, firms involved in lending, gambling, pyramid sales plans, financial institutions, marijuana, and businesses prohibited by federal law. In addition, no principal of the business shall have been convicted of a sex offense against a minor.

Additional Program Information

Grow Maine funds are “Cause and Result,” meaning SSBCI money must be the catalyst for the financing transaction. For every SSBCI dollar requested, a floor of three dollars of private capital must be leveraged from private capital sources (3:1). Businesses or owners identified as Socially, Economically Disadvantaged Individuals (SEDI) may be eligible for reduced interest rates, fees, and insurance premiums. SEDI borrowers may be eligible for leverage capital floors of one to one.


Grow Maine Support Team