USDA Lowers WEP Interest Rates

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The average rate for the 11 Bond Buyers Index has gone down during the last three months resulting in reduced interest rates for the Rural Utility Service Water and Waste Loan and Grant Program effective July 1.

New Rates will be as follows:
Poverty – 1.625%
Intermediate – 2.25%
Market – 2.75%

On September 28, 2015, USDA’s Rural Utilities Service, Water and Environmental Programs (RUS/WEP) launched RD Apply, at the National Rural Water Association WaterPro Conference in Oklahoma City. RD Apply is RUS’ online application intake system that provides the capability to apply for loans and grants for RUS Programs including water and waste disposal, broadband and electric infrastructure funding.

As of June 28, there has been 48 applications filed through the system and moved through to processing, and 126 additional applications are in the process of being filed.

“RD Apply saves processing time,” stated Jacki Ponti-Lazaruk of USDA. “Applications filed through the system do not have to be re-entered by RD Staff, so our field offices can immediately begin processing the requests.”

To improve the loan experience for new applicants, WEP has an RD Apply team that currently provides applicant training on how to use the system and monitors incoming applications to ensure prompt processing. To demonstrate RD Apply to community leaders, engineers and circuit riders, RD staff has attended more than 40 rural water conferences and other events.

RD Apply helps users through the process of filing with tools and tips along the way. The system can be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week from any internet-capable device. RD Apply is set up for applicants to easily work with their consultants. For example, applicants can give their engineer access to their application so the engineer can upload the Preliminary Engineering Report and other documents need to complete the application.

To access RD Apply, a “Level 2” authentication is required. To register for “Level 2” authentication users would need to enter some basic information, and then respond to more specific questions to ensure the user is verified. The good news – this is all done online, eliminating the in-person verification previously required by Rural Development. Users have noted the registration process can be lengthy, therefore, USDA encourages systems to register now, so their account is ready to go when they want to seek funding from USDA, RUS. To view an informational RD Apply Flyer Click Here.