NMFALeft to right NMFA Managing Director Lending Ron Cruz, Regional Finance Managers Mark Montoya and Ryan Olguin, Lead Finance Manager Carmela Manzari, and SWNMCOG Director Priscilla Lucero

Photo and article By Lynn Janes
As part of a statewide tour NMFA (New Mexico Finance Authority) visited Silver City to provide information about the organization. The state legislature created NMFA in 1992, with the intent to help with financing for projects that impacted infrastructure, economic development, and the quality of life in New Mexico. When the agency started, it had 30 employees and now has grown to 60.
The meeting took place May 18, 2023, at the Grant County Veterans Memorial Business and Conference Center. They had also offered the meeting through Zoom. Four finance directors attended, and others attended online.

If anyone one has heard of this organization, they probably equate it to just government projects, but it can also be useful for private citizens’ projects. Priscilla Lucero, Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments director, wanted people to know what NMFA had available and be able to ask questions.

Lucero has also been appointed by the governor to the Water Trust Board and has been very involved in the Colonias Infrastructure Fund (CIF). She said on May 24, 2023, Colonias would announce $67.5 million in projects for Colonias this year. Colonias covers only the bottom part of the state, 150 miles from the Mexico border. This fund helps these communities with their basic infrastructure for water, wastewater, solid waste disposal, flood and drainage control and roads and housing. This program allows a 90 percent grant, 10 percent loan with a provision for a loan waiver. The loans’ structure allows for 20 years in duration at zero interest.

NMFA looks at lending a little differently from banks; they look at the project. They explained the different programs they had available. Through their programs they have been able to lend $2,850,000 for private lending and $133,000,000 for public lending in Grant, Hidalgo, Catron, and Luna Counties.

The representatives went into what had changed with the past legislature and what new programs they would have coming up.

The smart money program works with banks and credit unions. They partner with them and will fund up to 49 percent of the loan. NMFA works as a co-lender with the bank. The project must provide one job for every $50,000 NMFA loans the project within five years. It is possible to get a loan for 100 percent and not have the need for collateral, but it must go before a committee for approval. Another perk they offer the banks is .25 percent interest received by NMFA for the repayment on the loan that goes to the bank.

Lucero asked about what happened if a business defaults. NMFA as part of their program does a review of the financials regularly. This is done to try and get hold of a situation before it comes to that point. They follow the loan and try to make sure the business succeeds.

The Buffalo Bar and the Silver City Food Coop currently are using the smart money program.

They went over several programs available, and they offered a lot of different benefits and structures to programs. Many people could have projects that can’t be funded the traditional way, but NMFA could possibly help make those come to fruition.

NMFA receives its funding from the federal government and state government to provide the money for these programs.

One of the attendees asked if it could be used to refinance. It can’t be used for refinance, but it can be part of another loan to pay off that small loan.

Lucero went over what they have available in the fund that could be accessed by both public and private projects. They currently have $70 million.

They went over the Water Trust Board, and it generally awards a combination of grants and loans. These projects  can be water storage, water conveyance and delivery, flood prevention, water conservation and treatment, recycling, and watershed restoration.

The meeting went on for two hours and they provided a tremendous amount of information. If anyone is interested, they encouraged contacting them. NMFA is an advocate and exists to help, which they expressed several times in the presentation.

Further information can be found at nmfinance.com . – lending@nmfa.net – 505-984-1454

Left to right NMFA Managing Director Lending Ron Cruz, Regional Finance Managers Mark Montoya and Ryan Olguin, Lead Finance Manager Carmela Manzari, and SWNMCOG Director Priscilla Lucero

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