The Star-Herald

Technology helps NMDC expand lending practices

CARIBOU, Maine — Northern Maine Development Commission will soon change some of its lending practices with new technology and more.

Jason Friedman and Associates briefed the NMDC executive board Sept. 13 of the details of a loan fund. The review is part of the organization’s steps to incorporate more impact lending.

Executive Director Robert Clark told the board the lending process from pipeline to closing will be enhanced with a new online intake form, which will be mobile friendly and creates a baseline for impact metrics. He added lending process efficiencies will also be upgraded by new software and a streamlined loan presentation/credit analysis process.

“We currently have to retype data into various programs and spreadsheets, which is not very efficient,” said Clark. “We hope these new technologies will improve the lending experience for our customers and loan officers.”

 This review of the loan portfolio is in conjunction with NMDC recently being designated a Community Development Financial Institution by the U.S. Department of Treasury. This certification will allow NMDC to expand lending services in Aroostook, Washington, Penobscot and Piscataquis counties.

The CDFI Fund was established in 1994 to promote economic revitalization and community development in low-income communities that may be underserved by traditional financial institutions.  

In other meeting news, senior planner Jay Kamm updated executive board members on the status of efforts to federally designate a bicycle route from Bangor to the St. John Valley. NMDC, in conjunction with the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT), started the project to achieve the bike route designation, which should provide significant economic, transportation, environmental and health benefits to residents and visitors to Aroostook and northern Penobscot counties.

Kamm said maps have been emailed to all the communities, from Bangor to Fort Kent, each County government and tribes. He added meetings with the communities, where the bike route may be located, have begun. He has also contacted bike enthusiasts for their input.

“We plan on two public meetings in the near future,” said Kamm. “One in the Presque Isle region and the other in the Lincoln area.”

Kamm anticipates filing the completed application in Aug. 2019.

Two new board members, Royden Hunt of Island Falls and Rosa McNally of Houlton, were also approved at the meeting.

The next NMDC executive board meeting is Thursday, Oct. 11, in Caribou.

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