U.S. Code of Federal Regulations

Regulations most recently checked for updates: Sep 29, 2022

§ 4280.316 - Application scoring.

Applications will be scored based on the criteria specified in this section using only the information submitted in the application. The total available points per application are 100 as shown in paragraphs (a) through (e) of this section. Awards will be based on the points ranking, with the highest scoring applications being funded first from the available funding.

(a) Application requirements for all applicants. All applicants must submit the eligibility and application information described in § 4280.315. The maximum points available in this part of the application are 45. In addition to the eligibility information, all applicants will submit:

(1) An organizational chart clearly showing the positions and naming the individuals in those positions. Of particular interest to the Agency are management positions and those positions essential to the operation of microlending and TA programming. Up to 5 points will be awarded based on the completeness of the organizational chart and management experience.

(2) Resumes for each of the individuals shown on the organizational chart and indicated as key to the operation of the activities to be funded under the program. There should be a corresponding resume for each of the key individuals noted and named on the organizational chart. Points will be awarded based on the quality of the resumes and on the ability of the key personnel to administer the program. Up to 5 points will be awarded.

(3) A succession plan to be followed in the event of the departure of personnel key to the operation of the applicant's RMAP activities. Up to 5 points will be awarded.

(4) Information indicating an understanding of microenterprise development concepts. Provide those parts of your policy and procedures manual that deal with the provision of loans, management of loan funds, and provision of TA. Up to 5 points will be awarded.

(5) The applicant's most recent, and two-year's previous, financial statements. Points will be awarded based on the demonstrated ability of the applicant to maintain or grow its fund balance, its ability to manage one or more federal programs, and its capacity to manage multiple funding sources, including restricted and non-restricted funding sources, income, earnings, and expenditures. Up to 10 points will be awarded.

(6) A copy of the applicant's organizational mission statement. The mission statement will be rated based on its relative connectivity to microenterprise development and general economic development and may or may not be a part of a larger statement. Up to 5 points will be awarded.

(7) Information regarding the geographic service area to be served, which must be rural as defined, and include the number of counties or other jurisdictions to be served. Note that the applicant will not be scored on the size of the service area, but on its ability to fully cover the service area as described. Up to 10 points will be awarded.

(b) Program loan application requirements for MDOs seeking to participate as RMAP microlenders with more than 3 years of experience. In addition to the information required under paragraph (a) of this section, applicants with more than three (3) years of experience as a microlender, including non-RMAP microloans, must also provide the information specified in paragraphs (b)(1) through (5) of this section. The total number of points available under this section (in addition to the up to 45 points available in paragraph (a) of this section) is 55.

(1) History of provision of microloans. The applicant must provide data regarding its history of making microloans for the three years previous to this application by answering the questions in paragraphs (b)(1)(i) through (v) of this section. This information should be provided clearly and concisely in numerical format as the data will be used to calculate points as noted. Up to a maximum of 20 points may be awarded under this criterion.

(i) Number and amount of microloans made during each of the three previous years.

(ii) Number and amount of microloans made in rural areas, as defined, in each of the three years prior to the year in which the application is submitted. If the history of providing microloans in rural areas shows at least one loan made in:

(A) Three or more consecutive years immediately prior to the application, 5 points will be awarded;

(B) At least two of the years but not more than the three consecutive years immediately prior to this application, 3 points will be awarded;

(C) At least 6 months, but not more than one year immediately prior to this application, 1 point will be awarded.

(iii) Calculate and enter the total number of microloans made in rural areas as a percentage of the total number of all microloans made for each of the past three years. If the percentage of the total number of microloans made in rural areas is:

(A) 75 percent or more, 5 points will be awarded;

(B) At least 50 percent but less than 75 percent, 3 points will be awarded;

(C) At least 25 percent but less than 50 percent, 1 point will be awarded.

(iv) Enter the dollar amount of microloans made in rural areas as a percentage of the dollar amount of the total portfolio (rural and non-rural) of microloans made for each of the previous three years. If the percentage of the dollar amount of the microloans made in rural areas is:

(A) 75 percent or more of the total amount, 5 points will be awarded;

(B) At least 50 percent but less than 75 percent, 3 points will be awarded;

(C) At least 25 percent but less than 50 percent, 1 point will be awarded.

(v) Each applicant shall compare the diversity of its entire microloan portfolio to the demographic makeup of its service area (as determined by the latest applicable decennial census for the state) based on the number of microloans made during the three years preceding the subject application. Demographic groups shall include gender, racial and ethnic minority status, and disability (as defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act). Points will be awarded on the basis of how close the MDO's microloan portfolio matches the demographic makeup of its service area. A maximum of 5 points will be awarded.

(A) If at least one loan has been made to each of the three demographic groups and if the percentage of loans made to each demographic group is 5 percent or less of their demographic makeup, 5 points will be awarded.

(B) If at least one loan has been made to each demographic group and if the percentage of loans made to each demographic group is each between 5 to 10 percent or less of the demographic makeup, 3 points will be awarded.

(C) If at least one loan has been made to each demographic group and if the percentage of loans made to one or more of the demographic groups is greater than 10 percent of the demographic makeup, 1 point will be awarded.

(D) If no loans have been made to two or more demographic groups, no points will be awarded.

(2) Portfolio management. The applicant's ability to manage its portfolio will be determined based on the data provided in response to paragraphs (b)(2)(i) and (ii) of this section and scored accordingly. The maximum number of points under this criterion is 10.

(i) Enter the total number of the applicant's microloans paying on time for the three previous years. If the total number of microloans paying on time at the end of each year over the prior three years is:

(A) 95 percent or more, 5 points will be awarded;

(B) At least 85 percent but less than 95 percent, 3 points will be awarded;

(C) Less than 85 percent, 0 points will be awarded.

(ii) Enter the total number of microloans currently 30 to 90 days in arrears, or that have been written off over the three previous years. If the total number of these microloans is:

(A) 5 percent or less of the total portfolio, 5 points will be awarded;

(B) More than 5 percent, 0 points will be awarded.

(3) History of provision of technical assistance. The Applicant's history of provision of TA to microentrepreneurs and microenterprises, and its ability to reach diverse communities, will be scored based on the data specified in paragraphs (b)(3)(i) through (iii) of this section. Applicants may use a chart to provide this information as they deem appropriate. The maximum number of points under this criterion is 15.

(i) Provide the total number of rural and non-rural microentrepreneurs and microenterprises that received both microloans and TA services for each of the previous three years. Of this total number, provide the percentage of rural microentrepreneurs and rural microenterprises that received both microloans and TA services for each of the previous three years. If the provision of both microloans and TA services to rural microentrepreneurs and rural microenterprises is demonstrated at a rate of:

(A) 75 percent or more, 5 points will be awarded;

(B) At least 50 percent but less than 75 percent, 3 points will be awarded;

(C) At least 25 percent but less than 50 percent, 1 point will be awarded.

(ii) Provide the percentage of the total number of rural microentrepreneurs and rural microenterprises by racial and ethnic minority, disabled, and/or gender that received both microloans and TA services for each of the previous three years. If the demonstrated provision of microloans and TA services to these rural microentrepreneurs and rural microenterprises is at a rate of:

(A) 75 percent or more, 5 points will be awarded;

(B) At least 50 percent but less than 75 percent, 3 points will be awarded;

(C) At least 25 percent but less than 50 percent, 1 point will be awarded.

(iii) Provide the ratio of TA clients that also received microloans, rounding to the nearest whole number, during each of the previous three years. If the ratio of clients receiving TA services to clients receiving microloans is:

(A) Between 1:1 and 1:5, 5 points will be awarded.

(B) Between 1:6 and 1:8, 3 points will be awarded.

(C) A ratio of either 1:9 or 1:10, 1 point will be awarded.

(4) Ability to provide technical assistance. In addition to providing a statistical history of their provision of TA to microentrepreneurs, microenterprises, and microborrowers, applicants must provide a narrative of not more than five pages describing the teaching and training methods used by the applicant organization to provide such TA and discussing the outcomes of their endeavors. Technical assistance is defined in § 4280.302. The narrative will be scored as specified in paragraphs (b)(4)(i) through (iii) of this section. Points may be awarded for each of the categories. The maximum number of points under this criterion is 5.

(i) Applicants that have used more than one method of training and TA (e.g., classroom training, peer-to-peer discussion groups, individual assistance, distance learning) will be awarded 2 points.

(ii) Applicants that provide success stories to demonstrate the effects of TA on their clients will be awarded 2 points.

(iii) Applicants that provide evidence that they require evaluations by the clients of their training programs and indicate that the average level of evaluation scores is “good” or higher will be awarded 1 point.

(5) Proposed administrative expenses to be spent from TA grant funds. The maximum number of points under this criterion is 5. If the percentage of grant funds to be used for administrative purposes is:

(i) Less than 5 percent of the TA grant funds, 5 points will be awarded;

(ii) Equal to 5 percent but less than 8 percent, 3 points will be awarded;

(iii) Equal to 8 percent or greater, 0 points will be awarded.

(c) Application requirements for MDOs seeking to participate as RMAP microlenders with 3 years or less experience. In addition to the information required under paragraph (a) of this section, an applicant MDO with 3 years or less experience that is applying to be a microlender must submit the information specified in paragraphs (c)(1) through (8) of this section. The total number of points available under this paragraph, in addition to the maximum of 45 points available in paragraph (a) of this section, is 55, for a total of 100.

(1) The applicant must provide a narrative work plan that clearly indicates its intention for the use of loan and grant funds. Provide goals and milestones for planned microlending and TA activities. In relation to the information requested in paragraph (a) of this section, the applicant must describe how it will incorporate its mission statement, utilize its employees, and maximize its human and capital assets to meet the goals of this program. The applicant must provide its strategic plan and organizational development goals and clearly indicate its lending goals for the five years after the date of application. The narrative work plan should be not more than five pages in length. Up to a maximum of 10 points will be awarded.

(2) The applicant will provide the date that it began business as an MDO or other provider of business education and/or facilitator of capital. This date will reflect when the applicant became licensed to do business by the Secretary of State, or tribal equivalent, in which it is registered and engaged regularly paid staff to conduct business on a daily basis. If the applicant has been in business for:

(i) More than 2 years but less than 3 years, 5 points will be awarded;

(ii) At least 1 year, but not more than 2 years, 3 points will be awarded;

(iii) At least 6 months, but not more than 1 year, 1 point will be awarded;

(iv) Less than 6 months, or more than 3 full years, 0 points will be awarded. (If more than 3 full years, the applicant must apply under the provisions for MDOs with more than 3 years of experience as specified in paragraph (b) of this section.)

(3) The applicant must describe in detail any microenterprise development training received by it as a whole, or its employees as individuals, to date. The narrative may refer reviewers to already submitted resumes to save space. The training received will be rated on its topical variety, the quality of the description, and its relevance to the organization's strategic plan. The applicant should not submit training brochures or conference announcements. Up to a maximum of 10 points will be awarded.

(4) The applicant must indicate its current number of employees, those that concentrate on rural microentrepreneurial development, and the current average caseload for each. Indicate how the caseload ratio does or does not optimize the applicant's ability to perform the services described in the work plan. Discuss how Agency grant funds will be used to assist with TA program delivery and how funding of the program loan application will affect the portfolio. Up to 5 points will be awarded.

(5) Applicants may submit a maximum of five (5) letters of support with one point awarded for each letter. Support letters should be signed and dated and come from potential beneficiaries and other local organizations. Letters received from Congressional members and technical assistance providers will not be included in the count of support letters received. Additionally, identical form letters signed by multiple potential beneficiaries and/or local organizations will not be included in the count of support letters received. The applicant must indicate any training organizations with which it has a working relationship. Provide contact information for references regarding the applicant's capacity to perform the work in the plan provided. Up to a maximum of five (5) points will be awarded.

(6) Describe any plans for continuing training relationship(s), including ongoing or future training plans and goals, and the timeline for the same. Up to 5 points will be awarded.

(7) The applicant will describe its internal benchmarking system for determining client success, reporting on client success, and following client success for up to 5 years after completion of a training relationship. Up to 10 points will be awarded.

(8) The applicant will identify its proposed administrative expenses to be spent from TA grant funds. The maximum total number of points under this criterion is 5. If the percentage of grant funds to be used for administrative purposes is:

(i) Less than or equal to 5 percent of the TA grant funds, 5 points will be awarded;

(ii) More than 5 percent but less than 8 percent, 3 points will be awarded;

(iii) Equal to 8 percent or greater, 0 points will be awarded.

(d) Application requirements for MDOs seeking TA-only grants. Technical assistance-only grants may be provided to MDOs that are not RMAP microlenders seeking to provide training and technical assistance to rural microentrepreneurs and rural microenterprises. An applicant seeking a TA-only grant must submit the information specified in paragraphs (d)(1) through (4) of this section. The total number of points available under this section, in addition to the 45 points available in paragraph (a) of this section, is 55, for a total of 100 points.

(1) History of provision of TA. Each applicant's history of provision of TA to microentrepreneurs and microenterprises, and its ability to reach diverse communities, will be scored based on the data specified in paragraphs (d)(1)(i) through (iii) of this section. The maximum number of points under this criterion is 20.

(i) Provide the total number of rural and non-rural microentrepreneurs and microenterprises that received both TA services and resultant microloans for each of the previous three years. Of this total number, provide the percentage of rural microentrepreneurs and rural microenterprises that received both TA services and resultant microloans for each of the previous three years. If the provision of both TA services and resultant microloans to rural microentrepreneurs and rural microenterprises is demonstrated at a rate of:

(A) 75 percent or more, 5 points will be awarded;

(B) At least 50 percent but less than 75 percent, 3 points will be awarded;

(C) At least 25 percent but less than 50 percent, 1 point will be awarded.

(ii) Provide the percentage of the total number of rural microentrepreneurs by racial and ethnic minority, disabled, and/or gender that received both microloans and TA services for each of the previous three years. If the demonstrated provision of TA and resultant microloans to these rural microentrepreneurs when compared to the total number of microentrepreneurs assisted, is at a rate of:

(A) 75 percent or more, 10 points will be awarded;

(B) At least 50 percent but less than 75 percent, 7 points will be awarded;

(C) At least 25 percent but less than 50 percent, 5 points will be awarded.

(iii) Provide the ratio of TA clients that also received microloans during each of the last three years, rounded to the nearest whole number. If the ratio of clients receiving TA to clients receiving microloans is:

(A) Between 1:1 and 1:5, 5 points will be awarded.

(B) Between 1:6 and 1:8, 3 points will be awarded.

(C) Either 1:9 or 1:10, 1 point will be awarded.

(2) Ability to provide TA. In addition to providing a statistical history of their provision of TA to microentrepreneurs, microenterprises, and microborrowers, applicants must provide a narrative of not more than five pages describing the teaching and training method(s) used by the applicant organization to provide TA and discussing the outcomes of their endeavors. The narrative will be scored as specified in paragraphs (d)(2)(i) through (iv) of this section. The maximum number of points under this criterion is 20.

(i) Applicants that have used more than one method of training and TA (e.g., classroom training, peer-to-peer discussion groups, individual assistance, and distance learning) will be awarded 5 points.

(ii) Applicants that provide success stories to demonstrate the effects of TA on their clients will be awarded points under either of the following paragraphs, but not both:

(A) News stories that highlight businesses made successful as a result of the applicant's TA; 5 points will be awarded.

(B) Internal stories that highlight businesses made successful as a result of TA, 3 points.

(iii) Applicants that provide evidence that they require evaluations by the clients of their training programs will be awarded 3 points. Applicants will provide the total number of evaluations received and the average score from the evaluations received. An additional two points will be awarded if the total evaluation scores are above an average of 3.0 on a five-point scale, with points determined by the client ratings on a declining scale as follows:

(A) Extremely Satisfied, 5 points.

(B) Satisfied, 4 points.

(C) Average, 3 points.

(D) Dissatisfied, 2 points.

(E) Very Unsatisfied, 1 point.

(iv) Applicants that present well-written narrative information regarding their programs and services to be delivered and their outreach efforts within the service area that is clearly and concisely written and is five pages or less will be awarded up to a maximum of 5 points.

(3) Technical assistance plan. Submit a concise plan for the provision of TA explaining how the funds will benefit the current program and how it will allow the applicant to expand its non-program microlending activities. Up to 10 points will be awarded.

(4) Proposed administrative expenses to be spent from TA grant funds. The maximum number of points under this criterion is 5. If the percentage of grant funds to be used for administrative purposes is:

(i) Less than or equal to 5 percent of the TA grant funds, 5 points will be awarded;

(ii) More than 5 percent but less than 8 percent, 3 points will be awarded;

(iii) Equal to 8 percent or greater, 0 points will be awarded.

(e) Re-application requirements for participating microlenders with more than 5 years of experience as a microlender under this program. (1) Microlender applicants with more than 5 years of experience as an MDO under this program may choose to submit a shortened loan/grant application that includes the following:

(i) A letter of request for funding stating the amount of loan and/or grant funds being requested;

(ii) An indication of the loan and/or grant amounts being requested accompanied by a completed Form SF 424 and any pertinent attachments;

(iii) An indication of the number and percent of the MDO's microentrepreneurs and microenterprises remaining in business for two years or more after microloan disbursement from program funds; and

(iv) A recent resolution of the applicant's Board of Directors approving the application for debt.

(2) The Agency, using this request and data available in the reports submitted under previous funding(s), will review the overall program performance of the applicant over the life of its participation in the program to determine its continued qualification for subsequent funds. Requirements include:

(i) A loan default rate of 5 percent or less;

(ii) A pattern of delinquencies during the period of participation in this program of 10 percent or less;

(iii) A pattern of use of TA dollars that indicates at least one in ten TA clients receive a microloan;

(iv) A statement discussing the need for more funding, accompanied by account documentation showing the amounts in each of the RMRF and LLRF accounts established to date; and

(v) A pattern of compliance with program reporting requirements.

(3) Shortened applications under this section will be rated on a pass or fail basis. Passing applications will be assigned a score of 90 points and will be ranked accordingly in the quarterly competitions. Failing applications under this section will be scored 0 and experienced MDOs may be required to complete the application requirements of paragraph (b) of this section.