The ATNI Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) is a private, non-profit, community development fund that provides loans and technical support to Tribal and Native American-owned for-profit enterprises for the purpose of expansion, re-location, or start-up.

Our Mission is to help Native American-owned businesses to be successful, thereby strengthening the economies of Indian communities.  We do this by:

  • Providing technical assistance to Native American entrepreneurs in creating and operating successful businesses

  • Providing debt capital (loans and subordinated loans) to Indian businesses.

  • Providing bridge financing between Indian businesses and commercial financial institutions.

  • Partnering with banks and other financial institutions in providing loans to Tribal Enterprises.

  • Providing the educational assistance and technical support to promote financial capacity building within the Tribes.

The policy of the RLF program is to complement, rather than replace, financing from commercial lenders and other private and public financing programs. Our strategy is to create a “bridge” between Native businesses who need financing and financial institutions that want to make loans but for which Trust land, Sovereignty and the Tribal court system present an obstacle. Our goal is to assist Tribes in starting and growing successful businesses to bring much-needed jobs and economic prosperity to distressed Indian communities.

ATNI research in the early 1990s, funded in part by the Northwest Area Foundation (NWF), identified the lack of access to credit and capital as a significant impediment to economic development in Indian Country. Based on this assessment, ATNI and its member Tribes created the ATNI Economic Development Corporation (EDC), in part, to address this lack of business investment into Indian Country.

Quick Facts

  • Loans are available for Native entrepreneurs and tribes who wish to start, expand or improve their business.

  • Our maximum loan amount is generally $125,000; in certain cases more is available.

  • Loan interest rates are fixed, and are generally slightly higher than bank rates.

  • The term of our loans ranges up to ten years.

  • Collateral is required, although our requirements are more flexible than those of a commercial bank.

  • Loan purpose can be for equipment, inventory, building purchase or improvement, working capital and many other purposes.

Please call us to discuss your specific business situation.

Certain restrictions may apply.

Loan Options

Loans are available for Native entrepreneurs and tribes who wish to start, expand or improve their business.  Loan purpose can be for equipment, inventory, building purchase or improvement, working capital and many other purposes.

Direct Loans without participation

When a banking partner cannot be found to participate in the financing of the project, we may be able to lend the full amount required. The goal is to fund the project now, and assist the business in becoming profitable, ultimately earning creditability with financial institutions thereby facilitating outside bank financing in the future.

Direct Loan with participation

Because banks are conservative, they are often not willing to lend the full amount required to complete the project. They may be willing to participate at a lesser amount with ATNI-RLF lending the remaining amount required.

Subordinated Debt

When additional debt is needed but there is not enough collateral available, the RLF may take a junior or subordinated position in the collateral, allowing the bank to have the senior position and a greater margin of safety.

Patient Debt

If the project is unable to support the debt repayment at the time the loan is made, it is sometimes possible to structure interest only payments in the early years of the loan, with principal repayments beginning after sufficient cash flow is available.

Loan Restrictions

We are limited by our funders in certain ways.  Unfortunately, RLF Loan funds may not be used for the following.  Please call us to discuss your situation.

  • To pay off an existing loan, except under certain circumstances

  • For investment or advance to an employee, officer, partner, or stockholder of the firm or replenishing funds used for such purposes

  • To purchase or finance stock equity in private businesses

  • To subsidize interest payments on existing loans

  • To provide equity contribution required of borrowers participating in other federal loan programs

  • For speculative activities such as land banking and construction of speculative buildings

  • For relocation to a different commuting area

  • For interim financing, except where permanent financing is in place and no other interim financing available

  • For payment of fees to real estate brokers, finder’s fees, fees for packaging information or closing costs to the RLF operator

  • For investment in high interest bearing accounts, certificates of deposit, or any other investments not related to job creation, other than loans to business enterprises

  • For any projects, which do not comply with applicable federal and state regulations in regards to civil rights, the environment, flood protection insurance, and access to the handicapped

Business Plans

A business plan should include, at a minimum, information related to the areas listed below:

a. Company Overview: Describe the nature of your business

  • What is the purpose of the business? What product or service are you selling?

  • What is unique about your business? What are your company's strengths and weaknesses?

  • Who are the key managers? Describe their experience and qualifications.

  • What is the legal structure of the business? Please include a copy of the business license.

b. Business Operations: Describe how your business works

  • How is the business organized operationally? How many employees are there? What are their specific jobs? How much do you pay your employees? Do you offer other benefits?

  • Who are your attorneys, accountants or consultants that assist in management?

  • How do you manage your company financially? Do you use a manual or computerized accounting system? Who is in charge of this? What areas need improvement?

  • How do you price your product or service? How much price flexibility do you have?

  • Do you extend payment terms to your customers?

  • Who are your suppliers? Do they extend terms to you? Do you have alternative suppliers?

  • Where is your business located? How does this help or hurt your business? Do you rent, lease, or own your business location? Are the facilities adequate for your business needs?

  • What specialized needs does your business have (i.e. special licenses, equipment, permits)?

c. Business Environment: Describe your customers and competitors

  • Who are your target customers? Where are they located?

  • How large is the target market for your product or service? Is the market growing, stable, or shrinking?

  • What are your marketing and advertising strategies?

  • What contracts or purchase orders do you currently have?

  • Who are your competitors? What are your competitor's strengths and weaknesses?

  • Have any competitors failed recently? Why? What are your competitive advantages?

Please note that these questions are only a guide to some of the topics you may need to address. Not all of them will apply to all businesses, and just answering this list of questions will not adequately describe every business. For assistance in developing a business plan, you can contact Mike Burton at ATNI-EDC.

Loan Application Information

Thank you for your interest in becoming an ATNI Revolving Loan Fund borrower. ATNI RLF is a nonprofit community development loan fund dedicated to assisting Native American owned and tribal enterprises in being successful.

What We Look For

Loan proposals submitted to ATNI RLF are evaluated based on many of the same criteria that institutional lenders assess, including management capacity, credit history, historical financial performance and projections, market factors, collateral and owner-contribution. Nonetheless, as a privately funded non-profit, ATNI RLF has some flexibility to decide whether the strengths of a business proposal mitigate the inherent weaknesses that are keeping it from bank financing.

Term and Rate

We can lend up to $125,000 to any one borrower, and in certain circumstances even more. Our loans have a fixed interest rate, are generally short term (usually ranging from five to seven years), and require collateral. Rates vary, depending on the term and risk associated with a particular loan. In addition, a 2% loan fee is charged for all approved loans. ATNI RLF does not charge an application fee.

Application Procedure

To apply for a loan from ATNI RLF, please contact Mike Burton to discuss your business proposal.  If your request meets ATNI RLF’s lending criteria or community benefit goals, you will be asked to submit a complete application (download a Loan Application).  Assistance can be obtained in completing the application.  Upon receipt of a complete package, we will call you to discuss your business in more detail. A subsequent visit to your business will then be scheduled. Assuming the loan proposal package is complete, a decision on your proposal by ATNI RLF’s Loan Committee can be expected within 2 to 3 weeks after the visit by the loan officer.

It is recognized that the information required is extensive, however it is our goal to be able to say yes to each request in a timely manner. Providing complete information will give your enterprise the best possible opportunity to be approved in the shortest period of time. We also recognize that this information is highly confidential. You can be assured that we make every effort to keep your information private, and that it is not discussed outside of this organization or with anyone that does not need to know to make the decision.

Please contact Mike Burton if you have any questions. It is always better to start the application process sooner, rather than later as unforeseen circumstances can always arise which may delay the process. We look forward to receiving your application!



Revolving Loan Fund

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