Frequently Asked Questions

General  |  Small Business Loans  |  Commercial Revitalization Deductions  |  Special Initiatives

General

What is CCV's mission?
CCV’s mission is to develop, manage and provide coordinated business assistance resources to the residents and business owners of the metropolitan Chicago area, focusing on traditionally under served and under developed neighborhoods.

Our vision is to transform companies and communities. We believe that businesses are the foundation of a community and by helping to build businesses, we are helping to build active, resource-rich communities.

Who are CCV's clients?
CCV works with businesses in low and moderate income communities, and businesses owned by minorities and women throughout the Chicago metropolitan area.

Our clients are diverse in industry, revenue size, and need. Typically, our clients fall in the following categories:

  • Revenue size between $100,000 to $5 million
  • Service, retail, manufacturing, food service
  • Growing - many of our clients seek our services during a transitional period for the company

Does CCV work with start-up ventures?
CCV applauds entrepreneurs at every stage in their development. However, we have found that while there are many excellent resources throughout our region to assist businesses in the start-up phase, after the initial two to three years in business, resources become more scarce or extremely expensive. That is why we target our services to existing businesses that need assistance growing their companies and getting to the next level.

How do I become a client?
If you are interested in CCV's services, please call us at 312-960-0320, or e-mail us, to obtain a client profile form. We ask that all new clients complete the brief form in order to give us general information about your company, and to help us serve you better.

Where are you located?
We are located at 105 W. Adams, suite 2300. The entrance is at 210 S. Clark. We are accessible via public transportation. There is limited paid street parking available in front of our building. What are your business hours?
Our regular business hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day our office closes at 12 p.m. on Fridays. We are closed on federal holidays.

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Small Business Loans

Why would I get a loan from CCV and not a bank?
CCV is a non-profit organization. Our mission is to help small businesses grow to scale, so unlike most financial institutions profit isn’t our primary motivation. We get to know each of our clients personally, and work with you to structure a loan that best fits your situation. If our loan product isn’t the best solution for you – we’ll tell you (and, if possible, help you find the solution that is). Plus, since we aren’t a bank our decisions aren’t based solely on the numbers. We look at the business as a whole and work with you to make your business “bankable.”

If CCV is a non-profit organization why does it charge interest?
In order for CCV to cover our operating expenses we must charge interest on our loans. However, this isn’t a bad thing for you, the business owner, as making timely repayment of a loan with interest shows others that you have a history of creditworthiness. This becomes important when you need to seek a loan larger than we can do, a line of credit, or when a vendor requires a credit reference before doing business with you.

Are CCV's interest rates competitive?
Yes! Though the final interest rate on each loan varies, generally speaking, our interest rates are between Prime +1 and Prime +5, and are competitive with most financing options available to small business owners. Additionally, we charge a 2% origination fee for all loans. Like interest, the origination fee helps us to cover our costs, particularly the expenses associated with underwriting the loan. This fee is a full point lower than banks are required to charge when they make a SBA Express loan.

How does CCV make its lending decisions?
Each loan application is evaluated based on multiple factors, but there are five factors that play the largest role in our decision making. These are:

  • Cash Flow
  • Credit History
  • Management Team and Experience
  • Collateral
  • Social Impact of your company (e.g. Will you create jobs in your community? Will your company pay employees livable wages? etc.)

What if I don’t meet CCV's criteria?
Though all of these factors are important, we understand it can be challenging for small businesses to meet all of the criteria with flying colors. By getting to know our clients, we can identify problem areas ahead of time and work with them to address the issues so they can later qualify for a loan. For example, if your cash flow is negative, we may be able to suggest strategies for improvement or if your credit score is low, we take the time to look at the story behind the number.

Also, the fifth factor, Social Impact, helps many companies improve their score simply because they engage in socially beneficial business practices. We include this last factor because we believe that building stronger, socially minded businesses will lead to stronger communities. Companies that give back to their communities by paying livable wages, providing healthcare, or hiring ex-felons, among other things, can increase their chances for approval.

What are the eligibility requirements for CCV's loans?

  • Business must be located in a low or moderate income area in Northern Illinois.
  • The loan must be used for one of the following purposes: property acquisition, building or leasehold improvements, equipment, inventory, working capital, and/or contract financing.
  • CCV does not lend to pure start-ups. Your business must show a track record of generating revenues for a minimum of 6 months.
  • While we loan to businesses across a wide spectrum of industries there are few business types that we will NOT lend to. These include: construction contractors, fast food franchises, liquor stores, and massage parlors.

What is contract financing?
Contract financing means that the money advanced as a loan is tied to the value of contract that a company has for goods or services. CCV can advance companies up to 70 percent of the value of a purchase order received in conjunction with a contract with terms ranging from three months up to one year.

How do I find out if my business is in a low or moderate income area?
To find out if your business is in one of these areas, visit http://www.ffiec.gov/geocode/default.aspx, enter your address, and click on “Get Census Demographic.”

How do I get started?
We recommend that anyone interested in a loan contact us to set up an appointment. When you first call, we’ll ask you some basic information about your company. Please answer these questions as best as you can as it helps us to understand your business a little better. From there we’ll set up a time to discuss your business needs.

We also encourage you to check out the loan application before meeting
with us.

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Commercial Revitalization Deductions

What is a Commercial Revitalization Deduction (CDR)?
The CRD is an incentive to purchase or substantially rehabilitate nonresidential real estate in federally designated Renewal Communities.

What is a Renewal Community (RC), and how do I know if my project is located in an RC?
A Renewal Community is a federally designated area that is eligible for special tax incentives that will promote revitalization. To find out if your project is in an RC, visit www.ChicagoProspector.org.

What is the CRD not applicable for?

  • Residential rental projects
  • Building acquisitions without substantial rehabilitation
  • Land speculation
  • For-profit businesses with insufficient income to take advantage of accelerated depreciation deductions or non-profits

What are the priorities for awarding the CRD?

In Chicago, priority is given to projects that will result in the creation of new job opportunities. Other influencing factors include:

  • Strong Wages – Jobs to be located at the site will support higher than average wages
  • Abandoned, Refurbished Buildings - Putting abandoned properties into service
  • Project Readiness - Does the applicant have the capacity to execute the project through completion?

When can I apply for the CRD?
Projects that meet federal eligibility and are good candidates for satisfying local criteria can apply during the following stages of development:

  • Prior to Construction- but able to be completed in 24 months
  • Mid Construction- but able to be completed in 24 months
  • Post Construction- but no later than the year the building is placed into service

What is a Qualified Revitalization Expense (QRE)?
QREs are depreciable costs of a new building or depreciable costs associated with an existing building that has been substantially rehabilitated.

What is not a QRE?
The cost of acquiring a building that you substantially rehabilitate, to the extent that it is more than 30% of the total qualified revitalization expenses for the building (not counting the cost of the building itself) or any expenditure that is used in computing the allowable credit.

What is the dollar limitation for the deduction?
QREs are limited to the smaller of: $10 million, or the amount allocated to the building by the Chicago CRD Authority. To qualify, building projects must at least meet the following criteria:

  • Must be located in an RC
  • Must be non-residential and used for business purposes (commercial, retail or industrial)
  • Can apply to only portions of building projects related to business uses, if mixed use
  • Cannot include expenses used to calculate historical tax credits
  • Can be new construction or rehab projects (if rehab, improvements must at least equal as much as the basis cost of the building to qualify)

Other restrictions may also apply. Consult your local IRS office or your tax professional for more details on qualifications.

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Special Initiatives

How do I get involved with the Small Business Development Initiative (SBDI)?
The SBDI is currently closed to new participants. However, many of the services that business owners receive as participants in the program are available through our consulting and financial services.

How do I sign up for the Market & Customer Development Training?
The Market & Customer Development Training is open to Illinois manufacturing companies. Interest companies should call us at 312-960-0320 or e-mail us, for an application and to get a list of upcoming dates.

What if I need business assistance, but don't qualify for these programs?
If you are interested in receiving CCV services, but do not qualify for our special initiatives you may be interested in our individualized consulting and financial services. Additionally, you can sign up to receive our e-newsletter to get updates about upcoming workshops and programs.

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