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All loans subject to credit approval and final guidance from the SBA on the Paycheck Protection Program. Funds are limited and subject to availability.

Chicago Vendor Impact Fund

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Frequently Asked Questions

The federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) ends May 31, 2021. Unfortunately, CRF is no longer accepting new online PPP loan requests. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

The Vendor Impact Fund is a program that is intended to provide MBE and other certified City vendors with priority access to loans from the federal Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and 7(a) loan program. These loans will help the City’s certified vendors to better manage their project cash flows and to scale up their businesses.

To be eligible for a loan through the Vendor Impact Fund, a small business must meet the requirements detailed below.

  • Have an active City contract (which may be as either a prime contractor or subcontractor)
  • Have been in business for at least 2 years as of the date of application
  • Preference will be given for businesses:
    • with City of Chicago or Cook County MBE or other certification (WBE, VBE, BEPD)
    • located within the City of Chicago
    • located within a Quality Investment Area in the City
    • with the majority of their employees living in the City
    • with a higher share of their employees living in disadvantaged areas of the City

After you have completed the online form your information will be processed for various eligibility checks with the City of Chicago. Once you pass these checks CRF can help you determine your financing needs and can help you apply for PPP or 7(a) loan.

CRF has a team of trusted experts at your service to guide you through the application, underwriting, closing, and forgiveness phases of your loan. Applicants for a loan will also be matched with a technical assistance provider who will provide hands-on instruction throughout the process. For any questions, please contact CRF Customer Care at

The Vendor Impact Fund knows that your funding needs are urgent. All applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis. To accelerate processing of your loan, please prepare the information required in advance.

The maximum amount a business can borrow under PPP is calculated based upon annual payroll costs. Your CRF lender will work with you to determine how much you are eligible to borrow. It is important to have information on your annual payroll costs in order to determine this.

The 7(a) loan size will be determined in consultation with your CRF lender and the technical assistance provider, who will help you determine the right loan size to fit your financing needs.

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans
  • Maximum Loan Amount: Determined based upon annual payroll amounts
  • Interest Rate – 1%
  • Term – 5 years
  • Forgiveness Terms – Eligible borrowers may qualify for full loan forgiveness if:
    1. Employee and compensation levels are maintained
    2. The loan proceeds are spent on payroll costs and other eligible expenses; and
    3. At least 60 percent of the proceeds are spent on payroll costs
7(a) Loan Program
  • Maximum Loan Amount:
    1. Standard 7(a): $5 million
    2. 7(a) Small Loan: $350,000
    3. SBA Express: $350,000
  • Maximum Term:
    1. 25 years for real estate
    2. 10 years for equipment
    3. 10 years of working capital or inventory loan
  • Collateral Required: Yes
  • Interest Rate: Negotiated up to SBA maximum, depends upon term and loan size

The interest rates for variable rate loans are as follows:

Loan Amount Max rate if maturity is less than 7 years Max rate if maturity is more than 7 years
$25,000 or less Base rate plus 4.25% Base rate plus 4.75%
$25,000 to $50,000 Base rate plus 3.25% Base rate plus 3.75%
$50,000 or more Base rate plus 2.25% Base rate plus 2.75%

PPP Loans can be used to help fund payroll costs, including benefits, and may also be used to pay for mortgage interest, rent, utilities, worker protection costs related to COVID-19, uninsured property damage costs caused by looting or vandalism during 2020, and certain supplier costs and expenses for operations. In order to have the loan forgiven, the borrower must spend 60% of costs on payroll.

7(a) loans can be used for working capital, inventory, equipment, real estate, and other uses to help you operate or expand your business.

Applicants must be prepared to provide as much of the following information as possible in order to verify status as a certified firm with an active contract:

  • Contract/P.O. Number
  • Project Description
  • Name of Prime Contractor

Should your submission be approved, a representative from CRF will reach out to you to collect the required documentation and help guide the applicant through the application review process.

You do not need collateral for a PPP loan. Borrowers are required to post collateral for a 7(a) loan. Additional information on collateral requirements can be found here.

The online loan process is highly secure. The Vendor Impact Fund platform goes above and beyond to protect your sensitive information. The platform uses TDE (Transparent Data Encryption) in SQL (Structured Query Language), which means the data is encrypted at rest. It also encrypts the data between the app server and the database and uses TLS (Transport Layer Security), which protects communications on the Internet, for form submissions. You can also be assured that none of your information will be sold.

For questions about eligibility and status of your application, please contact the Vendor Impact Fund team at For questions regarding the PPP and 7(a) loan program details and terms please contact CRF Customer Care at

All loans subject to credit approval and final guidance from the SBA on the Paycheck Protection Program. Funds are limited and subject to availability.

The information provided is solely for general knowledge and does not provide any professional advice regarding tax, accounting, legal, financial, or any other professional service. PPP borrowers should contact their professional service providers for a complete understanding of the PPP program requirements and forgiveness processes.

SBA regulations regarding the PPP program are subject to further limitations and changes. Borrowers must follow current regulations and processes based on SBA guidelines. All characteristics described above are from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act (Economic Aid Act), and/or the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act. The terms and information outlined above are subject to change upon further rulemaking or guidance from the U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S. government.

Community Reinvestment Fund, USA
801 Nicollet Mall, Suite 1700 West
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55402
Tel. 800.475.3050
General Fax: 612.338.3236
Loan Servicing Fax: 612.359.6185

Registered 501(c)(3). EIN: 41-1616861
NMLS ID: 310577
AZ Mortgage Banker License ID: BK-1000774
Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act and the California Finance Lenders Law

© 2021 Community Reinvestment Fund, USA. All rights reserved.

Community Reinvestment Fund, USA is an equal opportunity lender, provider, and employer.

About CRF

Founded in 1988, Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF) is a national non-profit organization with a mission to empower people to improve their lives and strengthen their communities through innovative financial solutions. A leading Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), CRF supports mission-driven organizations, increases economic mobility, and builds strong local economies through the development of solutions aimed at creating an equitable financial system. CRF has injected more than $3 billion to stimulate job creation and economic development and support community facilities.

Learn more about CRF USA

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