VALPARAISO | Calumet Region businesses often have footprints on both sides of the state border, and now a regional economic development organization does too.

The Regional Development Co., a Valparaiso-based organization that supports small business lending throughout Northwest Indiana, is expanding into Illinois after the the U.S. Small Business Administration gave it approval to conduct business across the state line. The RDC plans to branch out to offer SBA loans in McHenry, Lake, DeKalb, Kane, Cook, DuPage, Kendall, Will and Grundy counties.

"I would like to amplify the importance of the Regional Development Co.'s expansion into Illinois and to highlight the importance of this decision for small business," said SBA Regional Administrator Marianne Markowitz. "The RDC recognizes the success and job creation we are witness from small business growth across state lines and they are taking a stand to accommodate this growth."

The RDC wanted to reach across the state border to better serve its client base, since many local businesses have locations in both Indiana and Illinois. The organization gets most of its referrals from banks, accountants, commercial real estate brokers and attorneys, which almost always operate out of both states.

"We're excited about move into the Illinois market," said RDC president and executive director Erica Dombey. "Many of our current Indiana borrowers and referral sources already have locations across the state border, so this expansion will allow us to better serve those people. We don't see the lines dividing cities, counties and states. We see a Chicagoland region, working together to grow small business, fuel job creation and drive the economy. The RDC is thrilled to have the opportunity to be a bigger part of that solution."

The RDC, formerly known at The Northwest Indiana Regional Development Co., works with lenders to offer small businesses loans with low down payments and competitive interest rates. For the last 20 years, the organization has administered the SBA 504 loan program throughout Northwest Indiana, funding over 400 loans worth $135 million.

RDC-facilitated lending has created or retained an estimated 4,500 jobs in Indiana, the group said.

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