What is NCIFund?

Natural Capital Investment Fund (NCIFund) is a business loan fund that provides debt financing to small and emerging businesses. We focus on entrepreneurs and enterprises that are good stewards of natural resources or provide vital community services. NCIFund is a U.S. Treasury-certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).

Where does NCIFund operate?
We serve all counties in West Virginia and North Carolina, as well as:
We can also provide loans under $50,000 to forestry-related businesses and local food-related projects across the U.S, in conjunction with a local lending partner.

What’s a CDFI?
Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) are non-governmental entities with the primary mission of providing funding for small business development and affordable housing in underserved, economically distressed communities. NCIFund is a member of Opportunity Finance Network, the CDFI trade association.

How is NCIFund structured?
NCIFund is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and is a supporting organization of The Conservation Fund, a national non-profit dedicated to practicing conservation to achieve environmental and economic outcomes. The Conservation Fund launched NCIFund in 2001.

Where does NCIFund obtain its funding?
NCIFund obtains loan capital and operating support from state and federal agencies, private foundations, financial institutions, and individuals. NCIFund also funds its operations through interest income and fees earned on our lending. For a complete list of our supporters, please visit the Investors and Funders page.

Who can borrow from NCIFund?
NCIFund lends to companies and non-profits that have a positive impact on the natural environment or provide basic human needs. Sectors of particular interest include
  • Local and value-added agriculture
  • Renewable energy and energy efficiency
  • Sustainable forest products
  • Recycling and materials reuse
  • Heritage tourism and ecotourism
  • Natural products and medicines
  • Water conservation and water quality
  • Small town main street redevelopment
  • Vital community services (e.g., health, affordable housing)

How can NCIFund funds be used?
  • Leveraging traditional debt from banks and other collateral-based lenders. NCIFund often partners with other lenders to provide the subordinated debt needed to complete a transaction.
  • Fixed assets, such as equipment, real estate, and technology.
  • Working capital to grow sales through increased inventory, hiring, or marketing.

How much can NCIFund lend? What do the terms look like?
Amounts: $5,000 to $750,000.  As a USDA Business & Industry Guarantee Lender, NCIFund can lend up to $2.5 Million. NCIFund is also an approved SBA 7(a) Community Advantage Lender and USDA Intermediary Relending Program Lender.

Terms depend on the use of capital:

  • Working capital loans: 1-3 years.
  • Equipment loans: 3-7 years.
  • Real estate loans: up to 15 years.

Interest rates:  tied to the prime rate; based on loan purpose, terms of repayment, strength of collateral, and the borrower’s credit history.

What fees does NCIFund charge?
NCIFund charges an origination fee of 1%- 2% of the loan amount, depending on the type of project.  Borrowers pay all loan closing costs, including filing fees and attorney’s fees.  The origination fee and loan closing costs can be financed, at the option of the borrower, as part of the loan.

How do I apply for a loan? ? 
Please call Anna Tefft, NCIFund’s Director of Lending at 336-734-6902 to review your request before submitting an application.  The NCIFund application is available on the Apply for a Loan page. Or, we’ll be happy to send you an application by mail.

How long does the application process take?
The speed of the loan approval process depends upon the completeness of the information provided by the borrower and the complexity of the transaction. Typically, a borrower should expect between 30 to 45 days from application submission to approval.

Does NCIF provide grants?
No. NCIFund is a lender. In some cases, NCIFund will underwrite the cost of technical assistance to NCIFund portfolio companies.

What happens if a business doesn’t repay the loan?
We understand that entrepreneurs can fall on challenging times. We work with borrowers to restructure their loans if necessary. If restructuring is unsuccessful, NCIFund uses all available legal means to recover the loan amount.