FFIEC Award-Winning “Rural Opportunity Fund” Offers a Creative and Innovative CRA Solution for Bank Partners

Pathway Lending, the State of Tennessee, and Member Banks of the Tennessee Bankers Association launched the Tennessee Rural Opportunity Fund (TNROF) in 2007 to create a perpetual revolving loan fund for small, disadvantaged, and startup businesses located throughout rural Tennessee.

TNROF provides loans to small businesses unable to access traditional credit due to lack of collateral, poor credit scores, inconsistent earnings, or being identified as a startup business.

During its first 10 years of operations, the Tennessee Rural Opportunity Fund provided 117 loans to 75 rural Tennessee companies totaling $21.5 million in loans to underserved small businesses owners.  The businesses funded by the Tennessee Rural Opportunity Fund have created 334 new jobs and retained more than 500 jobs in rural Tennessee. The Fund has created $32 million in economic impact and a $9.5 million annual increase in the state’s gross domestic product.

Why Should Your Bank Partner in the TNROF?

  • Banks receive Franchise & Excise Tax Credits based on amount of their investment
  • Banks receive Investment or Loan CRA Test Credit*
  • Banks receive an additional interest payment from Pathway Lending
  • TBA and its Member Banks take a national lead in rural small business development

Pathway Lending is currently seeking additional capital and bank partners to help more businesses in rural Tennessee like the entrepreneurs featured in this video:

Is your bank ready to partner in the Tennessee Rural Opportunity Fund?

Click here for information from our recent economic study on the impacts of TNROF,
including a helpful infographic and information on historical loan performance.


To partner in the TN ROF, please email Clint Gwin or Hank Helton.



CB&S Bank
Commercial Bank & Trust
Community Bank & Trust (AShland City, tn)
Decatur County Bank
F&M Bank
Franklin Synergy Bank


* CRA-qualified investment through the TN ROF eligible in all TN counties except Shelby, Davidson and Knox.