Loan Program

Frequently asked questions

Overview - Lending Process - Faq - apply

what is a cdfi (Community Development Financial Institution)? 

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs for short) are private financial institutions that provide lending products to meet the needs of low-income residents who do not typically have access to capital through traditional financing entities. Spruce Root CDFI specializes in financing community businesses, intending to strengthen our local business economy, spark job growth, and lead Southeast Alaskan communities toward economic resilience.

Although CDFIs can be profitable, they are not profit-maximizing – as a mission-driven entity, they put community first. Accordingly, we work with you not only from a technical level (i.e. help you develop a business plan), but also offer flexible loan structures (i.e. payment plans tailored for your business) to give your business the strongest opportunity for success. 

Traditional lenders have strict business loan requirements, which typically include two years of experience, financials, tax returns, collateral, etc. Spruce Root understands that you have to “start somewhere.”  Our ultimate goal is to meet you where you are at and help you get the resources needed to start and grow your business to the level where it and you are eligible for traditional financing with better rates and terms.  

Who is eligible for a loan?

Anyone over the age of 18 in Southeast Alaska can apply for our business loans.

Spruce Root does not provide financing to/for:

  • Borrowers or projects in which the Fund’s personnel, including contractors, management, Loan Committee or Board members have a direct financial interest unless such borrowers have no alternative access to outside financing in which the Fund may consider but only if approved by the Board of Directors.
  • Businesses that receive more than 50% of their gross sales from gaming
  • Multi-level, pyramid or network marketing strategies
  • Speculative enterprises
  • Personal loans
  • Fraternal organizations
  • Illegal activities
  • Production or distribution of violent, unsafe materials
  • Residential housing or home improvement projects
  • Real estate development or investment projects unless the real estate is necessary for the growth or diversification of the borrower’s existing operation
  • Borrowers with active judgments or litigation pending, especially collection actions, unpaid/delinquent federal obligations, or prior charge offs with the Fund or its lending partners.

What Does Spruce Root NOT provide funding to/for?

Does spruce root lend to businesses anywhere in alaska? 

No. Currently, we only serve entrepreneurs and business owners in Southeast Alaska.

do i need to have an existing business? 

No. Loans may be used for start-ups. However, Spruce Root requires a formal business plan as part of its application process.

No. Spruce Root provides loans, not grants. Funding from Spruce Root is a loan, and thus it must be paid back with interest. 

can spruce root give me a grant for my business? 

Yes. The amount of collateral varies with the size of the loan. However, CDFIs like Spruce Root can have flexible terms and requirements and are able to accept certain forms of collateral that banks may not accept.


do I need collateral to apply for a loan with spruce root? 

No. Spruce Root is able to make loans to people and businesses with low credit. CDFIs like Spruce Root help build and establish credit which is one of the many added benefits offered by CDFIs.

do I need good credit to apply for a loan with Spruce Root? 

No. Everyone must go through the same loan application process. The loan committee assesses each application based on the merits of the business plan.

does spruce root Auto approve loans? 

There is no official minimum loan amount, however, total loans to a single borrower may not exceed $250,000.

what are the maximum and minimum loan amounts? 

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Do you have more questions? 

Please feel free to contact us, and we will do our best to support you and your business.