Waukesha County’s GROW fund to start lending soon

Published by the Waukesha Freeman. View the full article here.

WAUKESHA — A $2-million, revolving-loan fund aimed at helping Waukesha County businesses should be ready to start processing applications by the end of the year.

Dubbed the Generating Resources in Waukesha County or GROW Fund, the account was first established this spring by the Waukesha County Center for Growth and local lenders.

Town Bank, First Bank Financial Centre, and Johnson Financial Group were the first banks to sign on to create the fund. BMO Harris Bank followed in August, offering its support.

The fund is designed to help business expansion and innovative housing solutions by giving companies access to financial resources while allowing contributing banks to meet federal lending guidelines. The fund also provides federal Community Reinvestment Act credits to banks that contribute to the fund, to help meet community credit needs for economic development.

Speaking to members of Waukesha’s Redevelopment Authority this week, Tim Casey, director of economic development for the Waukesha County Center for Growth, said more than 12 businesses have already inquired about securing loans through the fund.

“We have more than a dozen interested in funds, and of those 11 are manufacturers,” he said.

The Milwaukee Economic Development Corporation, better known as MEDC, will manage the fund, while loan decisions will be guided by a collaborative committee. The committee is made up of individuals representing stakeholder interests and who have special expertise and knowledge of commercial lending, economic development processes and workforce housing development lending, according to the Waukesha County Center for Growth.

‘The GROW Fund is unique because it’s designed to increase affordable housing options in Waukesha County while encouraging banks to invest in the community,’ said Nate Zastrow, executive vice president and CFO of First Bank Financial Centre, in a statement this summer.