A small business owner serves a customer a cup of coffee in her shp.

Equitable Access to Credit

Request for Public Comment

The Equitable Access to Credit Program, authorized by HB 1015 (RCW 82.04.449) (PDF), provides a tax preference mechanism that generates funds for grants to qualified lending institutions. These grants, funded through contributions in exchange for B&O tax credits, are dedicated to providing access to credit for historically underserved communities.

The Washington Department of Commerce’s Office of Economic Development and Competitiveness (OEDC) is seeking public comments and recommendations to inform the agency’s work on the development of the grant component of the Equitable Access to Credit Program. The purpose of this effort is to:

  1. Determine what information should be collected in the grant application to verify eligibility
  2. Determine desirable methods of grant administration and distribution;
  3. Identify additional information to be collected from grantees for reporting

Feedback obtained through this Request for Public Comment process will help inform coordinated agency action in designing and implementing programs that support equitable access to credit grants.

Supplementary Information (Background)

To be eligible for a grant through the Equitable Access to Credit Program, the lending institution must meet certain requirements as set forth by the legislature, as well as any additional criteria Commerce deems helpful in achieving the goal of ensuring access to credit to underserved communities across the state.

The grant program will be designed in concert with the legislative requirements and supported by current economic needs and stakeholder outreach. The Program’s main goal is to encourage investment in small, rural, and underserved businesses to boost community and economic development in Washington State. Commerce must be mindful of certain eligibility constraints while also administering a program that ensures equitable access and distribution to grant funds across the state.

In an effort to explore grant administration, disbursement, and eligibility methods and requirements for the upcoming grant cycle through targeted input from stakeholders, Commerce is soliciting feedback to help inform program development to best support underserved communities.

How to participate

We welcome stakeholders representing the state’s small business communities across the state to participate in the public comment process.

Interested participants are invited to:

Provide comments via our feedback form. Participation is completely voluntary. We encourage you to invite key partners to participate. Electronically submit via our Public Comment Form by Tuesday, January 16, 2024.