Government collateral helps Idaho firms like JumpTime grow

zkyle@idahostatesman.comAugust 27, 2013 

  • Collateral for Idaho businesses

    Idaho received $13.2 million from the federal government on Aug. 15, 2011, for the collateral program. Here’s how the Idaho Housing and Finance Association says that money has been used:

    $12.9 million in collateral distributed or reserved in Idaho.

    $84 million in loans supported by program collateral.

    $5.3 million in collateral distributed or reserved in the Treasure Valley.

    $34 million in loans supported by program collateral in the Valley.

    108 Idaho businesses have used the program,

    creating about 1,200 jobs.

    36 Valley businesses used the program, creating about 650 jobs.

JumpTime Idaho is a children’s paradise.

It’s pretty much a Boise warehouse with a trampoline floor. Bouncers dunk basketballs, throw and elude dodge balls and hurtle into a pit of soft blocks.

Who are we kidding? With more than 100 people of all ages airborne on the busiest days, JumpTime is paradise for many adults, too.

JumpTime was dreamed up by Chad Babcock, who spent plenty of time off the ground as a former All-American gymnast at Western Michigan University in the early 1990s and competed in the low levels of the U.S. Ski Team development program after.

Babcock opened the first JumpTime in Meridian in 2010. At first he didn’t plan on expanding beyond that location. But the business was profitable — Babcock won’t say how profitable — and Babcock felt idle, so he opened a second location in Boise and will soon open a third in Twin Falls. Babcock also plans to expand to Nampa but has yet to find an available building with a high enough ceiling.

“I’m an adult with ADD,” Babcock says, referring to attention deficit disorder. “I need to keep doing things, to keep moving, to keep expanding our business.”

Babcock funded the Boise expansion with the help of $30,000 in collateral provided by the Idaho Collateral Support Program. The program’s collateral supplemented the cash Babcock put up as collateral — he wouldn’t say how much — which combined gave JumpTime enough backing for Home Federal to issue a five-year, $120,000 loan to fund the Boise expansion.

The program is designed to help Idaho businesses with fewer than 100 employees to expand or solidify their operations. The collateral allows businesses to qualify for loans that banks wouldn’t otherwise issue.

“(The collateral program) helped me expand my business,” Babcock says. “It made it easy for me. I don’t have to come up with a bunch of collateral.”

A series of government actions made the program available to businesses such as JumpTime. Idaho received a federal grant of nearly $13 million from the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010. Businesses apply to the state program administrator, the Idaho Housing and Finance Association, requesting collateral to help secure business loans.

The program is for businesses who couldn’t otherwise get loans approved without help with collateral, says Gerald Hunter, president and executive director of Idaho Housing and Finance.

“We provide that incremental collateral a borrower needs in order for lending institution to move forward with the loan,” Hunter says. “It’s a pretty simple way of enhancing small-business borrowing capabilities in this market.”

The government collateral removes some of the risk for banks in case borrowers default on their loans, though none of the 108 Idaho businesses that have used the program have defaulted, Hunter says.

Basically, the program makes it easier for banks to do business, says Len Williams, president and CEO of Home Federal.

“The loan program has helped to provide extra guarantees of collateral that helped us provide approvals for these financing requests where it might not otherwise have been possible,” Nelson says. “This makes it an attractive credit enhancement tool for the bank and our clients.”

The only problem with the program is that it’s running out of money, Hunter says. This is a change from 2012, when only $5 million of the available collateral money was issued because of a lack of applications. Idaho Housing and Finance put the word out to small businesses, resulting in an increase in applications.

Funds will begin trickling back to Idaho Housing and Finance as businesses pay down their loans, and Hunter hopes the program will continue in perpetuity as the money recycles back to the association and to the next line of borrowers. Idaho Housing and Finance has committed $3 million to augment the $13 million in federal money to sustain the program in the meantime. The association is now processing eight applications worth about $2 million in collateral, he says.

“The goal is to keep it going, but $16 million is not enough to reach the point where we can recycle (money) to meet demand within the state,” Hunter says.

Zach Kyle: 377-6464

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