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National Rural Lenders’ Roundtable, USDA and SBA Announce Puerto Rico Rural Lending Investment Summit

By on March 1, 2019

SAN JUAN – The National Rural Lenders’ Roundtable (NRLR), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced Friday that they are holding the 2019 Puerto Rico Rural Lending Investment Summit on March 7-8 at the Condado Plaza Hilton Hotel in San Juan.

The event will join lenders and stakeholders in the USDA and SBA guaranteed-lending community with local and federal officials in an “effort to provide Puerto Rico’s rural communities with access to capital and bolster Puerto Rico’s economic recovery in the aftermath of Hurricane María,” the announcing release reads.

Invited guest speakers for the summit include Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló; Jennifer González-Colón, Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico; Bette Brand, USDA Rural Business-Cooperative Service Administrator and Rural Utilities Service Acting Administrator; Joseph Ben Israel, USDA Rural Development Assistant Administrator for Community Facility Programs; Edna Primrose, USDA Rural Development Assistant Administrator for Water and Environmental Programs; Steven Bulger, SBA Region II Administrator; Manuel Laboy, Puerto Rico Secretary of Economic Development and Commerce; Fernando Gil, Puerto Rico Secretary of Housing; Gerardo Portela, Chief Investment Officer of Puerto Rico;  Omar Marrero, Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Public-Private Partnerships Authority and the Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction, and Resiliency; and Carlos Mercader, Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration, among others.

The NRLR provides access to capital to rural residents. The roundtable serves as a resource for federal guaranteed lending, delivers guidance on policy and regulatory questions and provides leadership and advocacy for loan guarantee programs.

“The summit will provide valuable information on the USDA Business & Industry Guaranteed Loan Program, Energy Programs, Water & Environmental Program, Community Facilities Loan Program and SBA Loan Programs,” said Thomas Kimsey, 2018 president of the NRLR. “Together, we will discuss recovery funds for Puerto Rico, Access to Capital, Opportunity Zones, the Secondary Market, the 2018 Farm Bill and OneRD.”

USDA Rural Development offers loans, grants and loan guarantees “to help create jobs and support economic development and essential services such as housing, health care, first responder services and equipment, and water, electric and communications infrastructure,” according to the agency, which has “a loan portfolio of more than $224.5 billion to bring enhanced economic opportunity to the Nation’s rural communities.”

USDA Rural Business-Cooperative Services Administrator Bette Brand added in the release: “Summits like these remind us how crucial it is that all rural Puerto Ricans have access to capital needed to start and grow their own businesses and build vital community facilities, so that everyone can strive to bring economic development to their communities while supporting a rural workforce.”

USDA Rural Development State Director Josué Rivera said, “The summit presents a great opportunity for lenders, investors, and entrepreneurs to join forces and promote the launch of new businesses and the creation of new jobs that will drive economic development for Puerto Rico’s rural communities. This a critical juncture to make history and advance Puerto Rico’s recovery and reconstruction efforts after the destruction caused by hurricanes Irma and María.”

For its part, the SBA delivers loans, loan guarantees, contracts, counseling sessions and other forms of assistance to small businesses, including access to capital, entrepreneurial development, federal procurement opportunities and advocacy for small businesses.

SBA Regional Administrator Steve Bulger added, “The SBA’s lending partners who fund loans to small business owners in our communities help strengthen the fabric of our nation. They are assisting small businesses owners like farmers and rural entrepreneurs seeking capital realize their goals.  Nothing speaks more to our commitment to rural communities than our recent partnership under the White House’s initiative with USDA. That is why forums like the Puerto Rico Investment Summit are so important; they highlight the fact that supporting these job creation regions continue to be vital because they often support our cities and population centers.”

For additional information and to register for the event, visit


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