Announcement of Application Deadlines and Requirements for Section 313A Guarantees for Bonds and Notes Issued for Electrification or Telephone Purposes Loan Program for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, 16044-16047 [2018-07720]

Download as PDF 16044 Notices Federal Register Vol. 83, No. 72 Friday, April 13, 2018 This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains documents other than rules or proposed rules that are applicable to the public. Notices of hearings and investigations, committee meetings, agency decisions and rulings, delegations of authority, filing of petitions and applications and agency statements of organization and functions are examples of documents appearing in this section. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Rural Utilities Service Announcement of Application Deadlines and Requirements for Section 313A Guarantees for Bonds and Notes Issued for Electrification or Telephone Purposes Loan Program for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Rural Utilities Service, USDA. Notice of Solicitation of Applications (NOSA). AGENCY: ACTION: The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), announces the application window and requirements for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 under the Guarantees for Bonds and Notes Issued for Electrification or Telephone Purposes Program (the 313A Program) authorized under the Rural Electrification Act of 1936, as amended, and related terms. The Agency will publish the amount of funding received in the appropriations act on its website at https://www.rd.usda.gov/newsroom/ notices-solicitation-applications-nosas. Under the 313A Program, the Federal Financing Bank (FFB) will make loans to the selected applicant(s) and RUS will guarantee the applicant(s)’s repayment of the loans to FFB. Selected applicants may use the proceeds of loan funds made available under the 313A Program to make loans to borrowers for electrification or telecommunications purposes, or to refinance bonds or notes previously issued by applicants for such purposes. The proceeds of the guaranteed bonds and notes are not to be used by applicants to directly or indirectly fund projects for the generation of electricity. DATES: Completed applications must be received by RUS no later than 5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on May 31, 2018. ADDRESSES: Applicants are required to submit one original and two copies of daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:41 Apr 12, 2018 Jkt 244001 their loan applications to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service, Electric Program, ATTN: Amy McWilliams, Management Analyst, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Stop 1568, Room 0226–S, Washington, DC 20250–1568. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information contact Amy McWilliams, Management Analyst, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, STOP 1568, Room 0226–S, Washington, DC 20250– 1568. Telephone: (202) 205–8663; or email: amy.mcwilliams@wdc.usda.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Overview Federal Agency: Rural Utilities Service, USDA. Funding Opportunity Title: Guarantees for Bonds and Notes Issued for Electrification or Telephone Purposes for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018. Announcement Type: Guarantees for Bonds and Notes. Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 10.850. Due Date for Applications: Applications must be received by RUS by 5:00 p.m. Eastern. Daylight Time (EDT) on May 31, 2018. Items in Supplementary Information I. Funding Opportunity Description II. Award Information III. Eligibility Information IV. Fiscal Year 2018 Application and Submission Information V. Application Review Information VI. Issuance of the Guarantee VII. Guarantee Agreement VIII. Reporting Requirements IX. Award Administration Information X. National Environmental Policy Act Certification XI. Other Information and Requirements XII. Agency Contacts: Website, Phone, Fax, Email, Contact Name XIII. Non-Discrimination Statement: USDA Non-Discrimination Statement, How To File a Complaint, Persons With Disabilities I. Funding Opportunity Description A. Purpose and Objectives of the 313A Program. The purpose of the 313A Program is to make guaranteed loans to selected applicants (each referred to as ‘‘Guaranteed Lender’’ in this NOSA and in the Program Regulations) that are to be used (i) to make loans for electrification or telecommunications purposes eligible for assistance under PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 the RE Act (defined herein) and regulations for the 313A Program located at 7 CFR part 1720 (also referred to as the ‘‘Program Regulations’’ in this NOSA), or (ii) to refinance bonds or notes previously issued by the Guaranteed Lender for such purposes. The proceeds of the guaranteed bonds and notes are not to be used by the Guaranteed Lender to directly or indirectly fund projects for the generation of electricity. Each applicant must provide a statement on how it proposes to use the proceeds of the guaranteed bonds, and the financial benefit it anticipates deriving from participating in the program pursuant to 7 CFR 1720.6(a)(3). Objectives may include, but are not limited to the annual savings to be realized by the ultimate borrower(s) as a result of the applicant’s use of lower cost loan funds provided by FFB and guaranteed by RUS. B. Statutory Authority The 313A Program is authorized by Section 313A of the Rural Electrification Act of 1936, as amended (7 U.S.C. 940c– 1) (the RE Act), and is implemented by regulations located at 7 CFR 1720. The Administrator of RUS (the Administrator) has been delegated responsibility for administering the 313A Program. C. Definition of Terms The definitions applicable to this NOSA are published at 7 CFR 1720.3. D. Application Awards RUS will review and evaluate applications received in response to this NOSA based on the regulations at 7 CFR 1720.7, and as provided in this NOSA. II. Award Information Type of Awards: Guaranteed Loans. Fiscal Year Funds: FY 2018. Available Funds: https:// www.rd.usda.gov/newsroom/noticessolicitation-applications-nosas. Award Amounts: RUS anticipates making multiple approvals under this NOSA. The number, amount and terms of awards under this NOSA will depend in part on the number of eligible applications and the amount of funds requested. In determining whether or not to make an award, RUS will take overall program policy objectives into account. E:\FR\FM\13APN1.SGM 13APN1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 72 / Friday, April 13, 2018 / Notices Due Date for Applications: See under section. Award Date: Awards will be made on or before September 28, 2018. Preferred Schedule of Loan Repayment: Amortization Method (level debt service). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION III. Eligibility Information daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES A. Eligible Applicants 1. To be eligible to participate in the 313A Program, a Guaranteed Lender must be: a. A bank or other lending institution organized as a private, not-for-profit cooperative association, or otherwise organized on a non-profit basis; and b. Able to demonstrate to the Administrator that it possesses the appropriate expertise, experience, and qualifications to make loans for electrification or telephone purposes. 2. To be eligible to receive a guarantee, a Guaranteed Lender’s bond must meet the following criteria: a. The Guaranteed Lender must furnish the Administrator with a certified list of the principal balances of eligible loans outstanding and certify that such aggregate balance is at least equal to the sum of the proposed principal amount of guaranteed bonds to be issued, including any previously issued guaranteed bonds outstanding; b. The guaranteed bonds to be issued by the Guaranteed Lender would receive an underlying investment grade rating from a Rating Agency, without regard to the guarantee; and 3. A lending institution’s status as an eligible applicant does not assure that the Administrator will issue the guarantee sought in the amount or under the terms requested, or otherwise preclude the Administrator from declining to issue a guarantee. B. Other Eligibility Requirements Applications will only be accepted from lenders that serve rural areas defined in 7 CFR 1710.2(a) as (i) any area of the United States, its territories and insular possessions (including any area within the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau) other than a city, town, or unincorporated area that has a population of greater than 20,000 inhabitants; and (ii) any area within a service area of a borrower for which a borrower has an outstanding loan as of June 18, 2008, made under titles I through V of the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 (7 U.S.C. 901–950bb). For initial loans to a borrower made after June 18, 2008, the ‘‘rural’’ character of an area is determined at the time of the initial loan to furnish or improve service in the area. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:41 Apr 12, 2018 Jkt 244001 IV. Fiscal Year 2018 Application and Submission Information A. Applications All applications must be prepared and submitted in accordance with this NOSA and 7 CFR 1720.6 (Application Process). To ensure the proper preparation of applications, applicants should carefully read this NOSA and 7 CFR part 1720 (available online at https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID =9295e45c9a0f6a857d800fbec5d de2fb&mc=true&node=pt7.11.1720 &rgn=div5). B. Content and Form of Submission In addition to the required application specified in 7 CFR 1720.6, all applicants must submit the following additional required documents and materials: 1. Form AD–1047, Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, and Other Responsibility Matters Primary Covered Transactions. This form contains certain certifications relating to debarment and suspension, convictions, criminal charges, and the termination of public transactions (See 2 CFR part 417, and 7 CFR 1710.123.) This form is available at https://www.ocio.usda.gov/ policy-directives-records-forms/formsmanagement/approved-computergenerated-forms; 2. Restrictions on Lobbying. Applicants must comply with the requirements relating to restrictions on lobbying activities. (See 2 CFR part 418, and 7 CFR 1710.125.) This form is available at https://www.rd.usda.gov/ publications/regulations-guidelines/ electric-sample-documents; 3. Uniform Relocation Act assurance statement. Applicants must comply with 49 CFR part 24, which implements the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970, as amended. (See 7 CFR 1710.124.) This form is available at https://www.rd.usda.gov/publications/ regulations-guidelines/electric-sampledocuments; 4. Federal debt delinquency requirements. This report indicates whether or not the applicants are delinquent on any Federal debt (See 7 CFR 1710.126 and 7 CFR 1710.501(a)(13)). This form is available at https://www.rd.usda.gov/publications/ regulations-guidelines/electric-sampledocuments; 5. RUS Form 266, Compliance Assurance. Applicants must submit a non-discrimination assurance commitment to comply with certain regulations on non-discrimination in program services and benefits and on equal employment opportunity as set forth in 7 CFR parts 15 and 15b and 45 PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 16045 CFR part 90. This form is available at; https://www.rd.usda.gov/publications/ regulations-guidelines/formspublications; 6. Articles of incorporation and bylaws. See 7 CFR 1710.501(a)(14). These are required if either document has been amended since the last loan application was submitted to RUS, or if this is the applicant’s first application for a loan under the RE Act; and 7. Form AD–3030, Representations Regarding Felony Conviction and Tax Delinquent Status for Corporation Applications. Applicants are required to complete this form if they are a corporation. This form is available at https://www.ocio.usda.gov/policydirectives-records-forms/formsmanagement/approved-computergenerated-forms. C. Supplemental Documents for Submission 1. Cash flow projections and assumptions: Each applicant must include five-year pro-forma cash flow projections or business plans and clearly state the assumptions that underlie the projections, demonstrating that there is reasonable assurance that the applicant will be able to repay the guaranteed loan in accordance with its terms (See 7 CFR 1720.6(a)(4)). 2. Pending litigation statement: A statement from the applicant’s counsel listing any pending litigation, including levels of related insurance coverage and the potential effect on the applicant. V. Application Review Information A. Application Evaluation 1. Administrator Review. Each application will be reviewed by the Administrator to determine whether it is eligible under 7 CFR 1720.5, the information required under 7 CFR 1720.6 is complete, and the proposed guaranteed bond complies with applicable statutes and regulations. The Administrator can at any time reject an application that fails to meet these requirements. a. Applications will be subject to a substantive review, on a competitive basis, by the Administrator based upon the evaluation factors listed in 7 CFR 1720.7(b). 2. Decisions by the Administrator. The Administrator will approve or deny applications in a timely manner as such applications are received; provided, however, that in order to facilitate competitive evaluation of applications, the Administrator may from time to time defer a decision until more than one application is pending. The Administrator may limit the number of E:\FR\FM\13APN1.SGM 13APN1 16046 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 72 / Friday, April 13, 2018 / Notices guarantees made to a maximum of five per year, to ensure a sufficient examination is conducted of applicant requests. RUS will notify the applicant in writing of the Administrator’s approval or denial of an application. Approvals for guarantees will be conditioned upon compliance with 7 CFR 1720.4 and 7 CFR 1720.6. The Administrator reserves the discretion to approve an application for an amount less than that requested. B. Independent Assessment Before a guarantee decision is made by the Administrator, the Administrator shall request that FFB review the rating agency determination required by 7 CFR 1720.5(b)(2) as to whether the bond or note to be issued would receive an investment grade rating without regard to the guarantee. VI. Issuance of the Guarantee The requirements under this section must be met by the applicant prior to the endorsement of a guarantee by the Administrator (See 7 CFR 1720.8.) VII. Guarantee Agreement Each Guaranteed Lender will be required to enter into a Guarantee Agreement with RUS that contains the provisions described in 7 CFR 1720.8 (Issuance of the Guarantee), 7 CFR 1720.9 (Guarantee Agreement), and 7 CFR 1720.12 (Reporting Requirements). The Guarantee Agreement will also obligate the Guaranteed Lender to pay, on a semi-annual basis, a guarantee fee equal to 30 basis points (0.30 percent) of the outstanding principal amount of the guaranteed loan (See 7 CFR 1720.10). The ultimate recipients repay the lending utility directly. The utility is responsible for repayment to USDA. VIII. Reporting Requirements Guaranteed Lenders are required to comply with the financial reporting requirements and pledged collateral review and certification requirements set forth in 7 CFR 1720.12. daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES IX. Award Administration Information Award Notices RUS will send a commitment letter to an applicant once the loan is approved. Applicants must accept and commit to all terms and conditions of the loan which are requested by RUS and FFB as follows: 1. Compliance conditions. In addition to the standard conditions placed on the section 313A Program or conditions requested by the Agency to ensure loan security and statutory compliance, applicants must comply with the following conditions: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:41 Apr 12, 2018 Jkt 244001 a. Each Guaranteed Lender selected under the 313A Program will be required to post collateral for the benefit of RUS in an amount equal to the aggregate amount of loan advances made to the Guaranteed Lender under the 313A Program. b. The pledged collateral shall consist of outstanding notes or bonds payable to the Guaranteed Lender (the Eligible Securities) and shall be placed on deposit with a collateral agent for the benefit of RUS. To be deemed Eligible Securities that can be pledged as collateral, the notes or bonds to be pledged (i) cannot be classified as nonperforming, impaired, or restructured under generally accepted accounting principles, (ii) must be free and clear of all liens other than the lien created for the benefit of RUS, (iii) cannot be comprised of more than 30% of bonds or notes from generation and transmission borrowers, (iv) cannot have more than 5% of notes and bonds be from any one particular borrower and (v) cannot be unsecured notes. c. The Guaranteed Lender will be required to place a lien on the pledged collateral in favor of RUS (as secured party) at the time that the pledged collateral is deposited with the collateral agent. RUS will have the right, in its sole discretion, within 14 business days to reject and require the substitution of any Pledged Collateral that the Guaranteed Lender deposits as collateral with the collateral agent. Prior to receiving any advances under the 313A Program, the Guaranteed Lender will be required to enter into a pledge agreement, satisfactory to RUS, with a banking institution serving as collateral agent. d. The Guaranteed Lender will be required to maintain pledged collateral at a level that is sufficient to ensure that in the event of default resources will be available to cover principal, interest, fees and reasonable expenses incurred by RUS as a result of a default or incurred pursuant to RUS’s obligation to make related payments to FFB under the RUS Guarantee on all guarantees issued by RUS to FFB for the benefit of the Guaranteed Lender under Section 313A of the RE Act. The Guaranteed Lender will also be required to agree that the pledged collateral can be used for such purposes. e. The Guaranteed Lender will be required to agree to not to take any action that would have the effect of reducing the value of the Pledged Collateral below the level described above. f. Applicants must certify to the RUS, the portion of their Eligible Loan portfolio that is: PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 (1) Refinanced RUS debt; (2) Debt of borrowers for whom both RUS and the applicants have outstanding loans; and (3) Debt of borrowers for whom both RUS and the applicant have outstanding concurrent loans pursuant to Section 307 of the RE Act, and the amount of Eligible Loans. 2. Compliance with Federal Laws. Applicants must comply with all applicable Federal laws and regulations. a. This obligation is subject to the provisions contained in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018, Public Law 115–141, Division E, Title VII, Sections 745 and 746, as amended and/or subsequently enacted for USDA agencies and offices, regarding the prohibition against RUS making awards to applicants having corporate felony convictions within the past 24 months or to applicants having corporate federal tax delinquencies. b. An authorized official within your organization must execute, date, and return the loan commitment letter and the Assurance Regarding Felony Conviction or Tax Delinquent Status for Corporate Applicants (Form AD–3031) to RUS within 14 calendar days from the date of the loan commitment letter, or by September 28, 2018, if the loan is approved after September 17, 2018; otherwise, the commitment will be void. This form is available at https:// www.ocio.usda.gov/policy-directivesrecords-forms/forms-management/ approved-computer-generated-forms. c. Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) Filing. The Borrower must provide RUS with evidence that the Borrower has filed the UCC financing statement required by 7 CFR 1720.8(a)(2). Upon filing of the appropriate UCC financing statement, the Guaranteed Lender will provide RUS with a perfection opinion by outside counsel which demonstrates that RUS’s security interest in the Pledged Collateral under the Pledge Agreement is perfected. d. Additional conditions may be instituted for future obligations. X. National Environmental Policy Act Certification For any proceeds to be used to refinance bonds and notes previously issued by the Guaranteed Lender for the RE Act purposes that are not obligated with specific projects, RUS has determined that these financial actions will not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment as defined by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and its implementing regulations at 40 CFR E:\FR\FM\13APN1.SGM 13APN1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 72 / Friday, April 13, 2018 / Notices parts 1500–1508. However, for any new projects funded through the 313A Program, applicants must consult with RUS and comply with the Agency regulations at 7 CFR part 1970. XI. Other Information and Requirements Applications must contain all of the required elements of this NOSA and all standard requirements as required by 7 CFR part 1720. Additional supporting data or documents may be required by RUS depending on the individual application or financial conditions. All applicants must comply with all Federal Laws and Regulations. daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES XII. Agency Contacts A. Website: https://www.rd.usda.gov/ programs-services/all-programs/electricprograms. B. Phone: (202) 205–8663. C. Fax: (844) 749–0736. D. Email: amy.mcwilliams@ wdc.usda.gov. E. Main point of contact: Amy McWilliams, Management Analyst, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, STOP 1568, Room 0226–S, Washington, DC 20250– 1568. XIII. USDA Non-Discrimination Statement In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/ parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, political beliefs or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA (not all bases apply to all programs). Remedies and complaint filing deadlines vary by program or incident. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the responsible Agency or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720–2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877–8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English. To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD– VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:41 Apr 12, 2018 Jkt 244001 3027. Individuals wishing to file a discrimination complaint may use the form available at https://www.ocio.usda. gov/policy-directives-records-forms/ forms-management/approvedcomputer-generated-forms and at any USDA office, or may write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632–9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: (1) Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250–9410; (2) Fax: (202) 690–7442; or (3) Email: program.intake@usda.gov. USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender. Authority: 7 U.S.C. 940c–1. Dated: March 28, 2018. Christopher A. McLean, Acting Administrator, Rural Utilities Service. [FR Doc. 2018–07720 Filed 4–12–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS Notice of Public Meeting of the Kansas Advisory Committee U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. ACTION: Announcement of meeting. AGENCY: Notice is hereby given, pursuant to the provisions of the rules and regulations of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (Commission) and the Federal Advisory Committee Act that the Kansas Advisory Committee (Committee) will hold a meeting on Friday, May 25, 2018 from 12:00 p.m.– 1:30 p.m. Central time. The Committee will hear testimony as part of their current study on civil rights and school funding. DATES: The meeting will take place on Friday, May 25, 2018 from 12:00 p.m.– 1:30 p.m. Central time. Public Call Information: (Audio only) Dial: 877–723–9521, Conference ID: 5606543. Web Access Information: (visual only): https://cc.readytalk.com/r/ u3i2qctjot19&eom. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Melissa Wojnaroski, DFO, at mwojnaroski@usccr.gov or 312–353– 8311. SUMMARY: Members of the public can listen to the discussion. This meeting is available to SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 16047 the public through the above listed toll free number (audio only) and web access link (visual only). Please use both the call in number and the web access link in order to fully access the meeting. An open comment period will be provided to allow members of the public to make a statement as time allows. The conference call operator will ask callers to identify themselves, the organization they are affiliated with (if any), and an email address prior to placing callers into the conference room. Callers can expect to incur regular charges for calls they initiate over wireless lines, according to their wireless plan. The Commission will not refund any incurred charges. Callers will incur no charge for calls they initiate over land-line connections to the toll-free telephone number. Persons with hearing impairments may also follow the proceedings by first calling the Federal Relay Service at 1–800–877– 8339 and providing the Service with the conference call number and conference ID number. Members of the public are also entitled to submit written comments; the comments must be received in the regional office within 30 days following the meeting. Written comments may be mailed to the Regional Programs Unit, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 55 W. Monroe St., Suite 410, Chicago, IL 60615. They may also be faxed to the Commission at (312) 353–8324, or emailed to Corrine Sanders at csanders@ usccr.gov. Persons who desire additional information may contact the Regional Programs Unit at (312) 353– 8311. Records generated from this meeting may be inspected and reproduced at the Regional Programs Unit Office, as they become available, both before and after the meeting. Records of the meeting will be available via www.facadatabase.gov under the Commission on Civil Rights, Kansas Advisory Committee link (https:// www.facadatabase.gov/committee/ meetings.aspx?cid=249). Click on ‘‘meeting details’’ and then ‘‘documents’’ to download. Persons interested in the work of this Committee are directed to the Commission’s website, https://www.usccr.gov, or may contact the Regional Programs Unit at the above email or street address. Agenda Welcome and Introduction Panel Testimony: Civil Rights and School Funding in Kansas Public Comment Adjournment E:\FR\FM\13APN1.SGM 13APN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 72 (Friday, April 13, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 16044-16047]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-07720]


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Notices
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains documents other than rules 
or proposed rules that are applicable to the public. Notices of hearings 
and investigations, committee meetings, agency decisions and rulings, 
delegations of authority, filing of petitions and applications and agency 
statements of organization and functions are examples of documents 
appearing in this section.

========================================================================


Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 72 / Friday, April 13, 2018 / 
Notices

[[Page 16044]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Rural Utilities Service


Announcement of Application Deadlines and Requirements for 
Section 313A Guarantees for Bonds and Notes Issued for Electrification 
or Telephone Purposes Loan Program for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018

AGENCY: Rural Utilities Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of Solicitation of Applications (NOSA).

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency of the United 
States Department of Agriculture (USDA), announces the application 
window and requirements for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 under the Guarantees 
for Bonds and Notes Issued for Electrification or Telephone Purposes 
Program (the 313A Program) authorized under the Rural Electrification 
Act of 1936, as amended, and related terms. The Agency will publish the 
amount of funding received in the appropriations act on its website at 
https://www.rd.usda.gov/newsroom/notices-solicitation-applications-nosas. Under the 313A Program, the Federal Financing Bank (FFB) will 
make loans to the selected applicant(s) and RUS will guarantee the 
applicant(s)'s repayment of the loans to FFB. Selected applicants may 
use the proceeds of loan funds made available under the 313A Program to 
make loans to borrowers for electrification or telecommunications 
purposes, or to refinance bonds or notes previously issued by 
applicants for such purposes. The proceeds of the guaranteed bonds and 
notes are not to be used by applicants to directly or indirectly fund 
projects for the generation of electricity.

DATES: Completed applications must be received by RUS no later than 
5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on May 31, 2018.

ADDRESSES: Applicants are required to submit one original and two 
copies of their loan applications to the U.S. Department of 
Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service, Electric Program, ATTN: Amy 
McWilliams, Management Analyst, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Stop 1568, 
Room 0226-S, Washington, DC 20250-1568.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information contact Amy 
McWilliams, Management Analyst, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, STOP 1568, 
Room 0226-S, Washington, DC 20250-1568. Telephone: (202) 205-8663; or 
email: [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Overview

    Federal Agency: Rural Utilities Service, USDA.
    Funding Opportunity Title: Guarantees for Bonds and Notes Issued 
for Electrification or Telephone Purposes for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018.
    Announcement Type: Guarantees for Bonds and Notes.
    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 10.850.
    Due Date for Applications: Applications must be received by RUS by 
5:00 p.m. Eastern. Daylight Time (EDT) on May 31, 2018.

Items in Supplementary Information

I. Funding Opportunity Description
II. Award Information
III. Eligibility Information
IV. Fiscal Year 2018 Application and Submission Information
V. Application Review Information
VI. Issuance of the Guarantee
VII. Guarantee Agreement
VIII. Reporting Requirements
IX. Award Administration Information
X. National Environmental Policy Act Certification
XI. Other Information and Requirements
XII. Agency Contacts: Website, Phone, Fax, Email, Contact Name
XIII. Non-Discrimination Statement: USDA Non-Discrimination 
Statement, How To File a Complaint, Persons With Disabilities

I. Funding Opportunity Description

A. Purpose and Objectives of the 313A Program.

    The purpose of the 313A Program is to make guaranteed loans to 
selected applicants (each referred to as ``Guaranteed Lender'' in this 
NOSA and in the Program Regulations) that are to be used (i) to make 
loans for electrification or telecommunications purposes eligible for 
assistance under the RE Act (defined herein) and regulations for the 
313A Program located at 7 CFR part 1720 (also referred to as the 
``Program Regulations'' in this NOSA), or (ii) to refinance bonds or 
notes previously issued by the Guaranteed Lender for such purposes. The 
proceeds of the guaranteed bonds and notes are not to be used by the 
Guaranteed Lender to directly or indirectly fund projects for the 
generation of electricity. Each applicant must provide a statement on 
how it proposes to use the proceeds of the guaranteed bonds, and the 
financial benefit it anticipates deriving from participating in the 
program pursuant to 7 CFR 1720.6(a)(3). Objectives may include, but are 
not limited to the annual savings to be realized by the ultimate 
borrower(s) as a result of the applicant's use of lower cost loan funds 
provided by FFB and guaranteed by RUS.

B. Statutory Authority

    The 313A Program is authorized by Section 313A of the Rural 
Electrification Act of 1936, as amended (7 U.S.C. 940c-1) (the RE Act), 
and is implemented by regulations located at 7 CFR 1720. The 
Administrator of RUS (the Administrator) has been delegated 
responsibility for administering the 313A Program.

C. Definition of Terms

    The definitions applicable to this NOSA are published at 7 CFR 
1720.3.

D. Application Awards

    RUS will review and evaluate applications received in response to 
this NOSA based on the regulations at 7 CFR 1720.7, and as provided in 
this NOSA.

II. Award Information

    Type of Awards: Guaranteed Loans.
    Fiscal Year Funds: FY 2018.
    Available Funds: https://www.rd.usda.gov/newsroom/notices-solicitation-applications-nosas.
    Award Amounts: RUS anticipates making multiple approvals under this 
NOSA. The number, amount and terms of awards under this NOSA will 
depend in part on the number of eligible applications and the amount of 
funds requested. In determining whether or not to make an award, RUS 
will take overall program policy objectives into account.

[[Page 16045]]

    Due Date for Applications: See under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION 
section.
    Award Date: Awards will be made on or before September 28, 2018.
    Preferred Schedule of Loan Repayment: Amortization Method (level 
debt service).

III. Eligibility Information

A. Eligible Applicants

    1. To be eligible to participate in the 313A Program, a Guaranteed 
Lender must be:
    a. A bank or other lending institution organized as a private, not-
for-profit cooperative association, or otherwise organized on a non-
profit basis; and
    b. Able to demonstrate to the Administrator that it possesses the 
appropriate expertise, experience, and qualifications to make loans for 
electrification or telephone purposes.
    2. To be eligible to receive a guarantee, a Guaranteed Lender's 
bond must meet the following criteria:
    a. The Guaranteed Lender must furnish the Administrator with a 
certified list of the principal balances of eligible loans outstanding 
and certify that such aggregate balance is at least equal to the sum of 
the proposed principal amount of guaranteed bonds to be issued, 
including any previously issued guaranteed bonds outstanding;
    b. The guaranteed bonds to be issued by the Guaranteed Lender would 
receive an underlying investment grade rating from a Rating Agency, 
without regard to the guarantee; and
    3. A lending institution's status as an eligible applicant does not 
assure that the Administrator will issue the guarantee sought in the 
amount or under the terms requested, or otherwise preclude the 
Administrator from declining to issue a guarantee.

B. Other Eligibility Requirements

    Applications will only be accepted from lenders that serve rural 
areas defined in 7 CFR 1710.2(a) as (i) any area of the United States, 
its territories and insular possessions (including any area within the 
Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and the Republic 
of Palau) other than a city, town, or unincorporated area that has a 
population of greater than 20,000 inhabitants; and (ii) any area within 
a service area of a borrower for which a borrower has an outstanding 
loan as of June 18, 2008, made under titles I through V of the Rural 
Electrification Act of 1936 (7 U.S.C. 901-950bb). For initial loans to 
a borrower made after June 18, 2008, the ``rural'' character of an area 
is determined at the time of the initial loan to furnish or improve 
service in the area.

IV. Fiscal Year 2018 Application and Submission Information

A. Applications

    All applications must be prepared and submitted in accordance with 
this NOSA and 7 CFR 1720.6 (Application Process). To ensure the proper 
preparation of applications, applicants should carefully read this NOSA 
and 7 CFR part 1720 (available online at https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=9295e45c9a0f6a857d800fbec5dde2fb&mc=true&node=pt7.11.1720&rgn=div5).

B. Content and Form of Submission

    In addition to the required application specified in 7 CFR 1720.6, 
all applicants must submit the following additional required documents 
and materials:
    1. Form AD-1047, Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, and 
Other Responsibility Matters Primary Covered Transactions. This form 
contains certain certifications relating to debarment and suspension, 
convictions, criminal charges, and the termination of public 
transactions (See 2 CFR part 417, and 7 CFR 1710.123.) This form is 
available at https://www.ocio.usda.gov/policy-directives-records-forms/forms-management/approved-computer-generated-forms;
    2. Restrictions on Lobbying. Applicants must comply with the 
requirements relating to restrictions on lobbying activities. (See 2 
CFR part 418, and 7 CFR 1710.125.) This form is available at https://www.rd.usda.gov/publications/regulations-guidelines/electric-sample-documents;
    3. Uniform Relocation Act assurance statement. Applicants must 
comply with 49 CFR part 24, which implements the Uniform Relocation 
Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970, as 
amended. (See 7 CFR 1710.124.) This form is available at https://www.rd.usda.gov/publications/regulations-guidelines/electric-sample-documents;
    4. Federal debt delinquency requirements. This report indicates 
whether or not the applicants are delinquent on any Federal debt (See 7 
CFR 1710.126 and 7 CFR 1710.501(a)(13)). This form is available at 
https://www.rd.usda.gov/publications/regulations-guidelines/electric-sample-documents;
    5. RUS Form 266, Compliance Assurance. Applicants must submit a 
non-discrimination assurance commitment to comply with certain 
regulations on non-discrimination in program services and benefits and 
on equal employment opportunity as set forth in 7 CFR parts 15 and 15b 
and 45 CFR part 90. This form is available at; https://www.rd.usda.gov/publications/regulations-guidelines/forms-publications;
    6. Articles of incorporation and bylaws. See 7 CFR 1710.501(a)(14). 
These are required if either document has been amended since the last 
loan application was submitted to RUS, or if this is the applicant's 
first application for a loan under the RE Act; and
    7. Form AD-3030, Representations Regarding Felony Conviction and 
Tax Delinquent Status for Corporation Applications. Applicants are 
required to complete this form if they are a corporation. This form is 
available at https://www.ocio.usda.gov/policy-directives-records-forms/forms-management/approved-computer-generated-forms.

C. Supplemental Documents for Submission

    1. Cash flow projections and assumptions: Each applicant must 
include five-year pro-forma cash flow projections or business plans and 
clearly state the assumptions that underlie the projections, 
demonstrating that there is reasonable assurance that the applicant 
will be able to repay the guaranteed loan in accordance with its terms 
(See 7 CFR 1720.6(a)(4)).
    2. Pending litigation statement: A statement from the applicant's 
counsel listing any pending litigation, including levels of related 
insurance coverage and the potential effect on the applicant.

V. Application Review Information

A. Application Evaluation

    1. Administrator Review. Each application will be reviewed by the 
Administrator to determine whether it is eligible under 7 CFR 1720.5, 
the information required under 7 CFR 1720.6 is complete, and the 
proposed guaranteed bond complies with applicable statutes and 
regulations. The Administrator can at any time reject an application 
that fails to meet these requirements.
    a. Applications will be subject to a substantive review, on a 
competitive basis, by the Administrator based upon the evaluation 
factors listed in 7 CFR 1720.7(b).
    2. Decisions by the Administrator. The Administrator will approve 
or deny applications in a timely manner as such applications are 
received; provided, however, that in order to facilitate competitive 
evaluation of applications, the Administrator may from time to time 
defer a decision until more than one application is pending. The 
Administrator may limit the number of

[[Page 16046]]

guarantees made to a maximum of five per year, to ensure a sufficient 
examination is conducted of applicant requests. RUS will notify the 
applicant in writing of the Administrator's approval or denial of an 
application. Approvals for guarantees will be conditioned upon 
compliance with 7 CFR 1720.4 and 7 CFR 1720.6. The Administrator 
reserves the discretion to approve an application for an amount less 
than that requested.

B. Independent Assessment

    Before a guarantee decision is made by the Administrator, the 
Administrator shall request that FFB review the rating agency 
determination required by 7 CFR 1720.5(b)(2) as to whether the bond or 
note to be issued would receive an investment grade rating without 
regard to the guarantee.

VI. Issuance of the Guarantee

    The requirements under this section must be met by the applicant 
prior to the endorsement of a guarantee by the Administrator (See 7 CFR 
1720.8.)

VII. Guarantee Agreement

    Each Guaranteed Lender will be required to enter into a Guarantee 
Agreement with RUS that contains the provisions described in 7 CFR 
1720.8 (Issuance of the Guarantee), 7 CFR 1720.9 (Guarantee Agreement), 
and 7 CFR 1720.12 (Reporting Requirements). The Guarantee Agreement 
will also obligate the Guaranteed Lender to pay, on a semi-annual 
basis, a guarantee fee equal to 30 basis points (0.30 percent) of the 
outstanding principal amount of the guaranteed loan (See 7 CFR 
1720.10). The ultimate recipients repay the lending utility directly. 
The utility is responsible for repayment to USDA.

VIII. Reporting Requirements

    Guaranteed Lenders are required to comply with the financial 
reporting requirements and pledged collateral review and certification 
requirements set forth in 7 CFR 1720.12.

IX. Award Administration Information

Award Notices

    RUS will send a commitment letter to an applicant once the loan is 
approved. Applicants must accept and commit to all terms and conditions 
of the loan which are requested by RUS and FFB as follows:
    1. Compliance conditions. In addition to the standard conditions 
placed on the section 313A Program or conditions requested by the 
Agency to ensure loan security and statutory compliance, applicants 
must comply with the following conditions:
    a. Each Guaranteed Lender selected under the 313A Program will be 
required to post collateral for the benefit of RUS in an amount equal 
to the aggregate amount of loan advances made to the Guaranteed Lender 
under the 313A Program.
    b. The pledged collateral shall consist of outstanding notes or 
bonds payable to the Guaranteed Lender (the Eligible Securities) and 
shall be placed on deposit with a collateral agent for the benefit of 
RUS. To be deemed Eligible Securities that can be pledged as 
collateral, the notes or bonds to be pledged (i) cannot be classified 
as non-performing, impaired, or restructured under generally accepted 
accounting principles, (ii) must be free and clear of all liens other 
than the lien created for the benefit of RUS, (iii) cannot be comprised 
of more than 30% of bonds or notes from generation and transmission 
borrowers, (iv) cannot have more than 5% of notes and bonds be from any 
one particular borrower and (v) cannot be unsecured notes.
    c. The Guaranteed Lender will be required to place a lien on the 
pledged collateral in favor of RUS (as secured party) at the time that 
the pledged collateral is deposited with the collateral agent. RUS will 
have the right, in its sole discretion, within 14 business days to 
reject and require the substitution of any Pledged Collateral that the 
Guaranteed Lender deposits as collateral with the collateral agent. 
Prior to receiving any advances under the 313A Program, the Guaranteed 
Lender will be required to enter into a pledge agreement, satisfactory 
to RUS, with a banking institution serving as collateral agent.
    d. The Guaranteed Lender will be required to maintain pledged 
collateral at a level that is sufficient to ensure that in the event of 
default resources will be available to cover principal, interest, fees 
and reasonable expenses incurred by RUS as a result of a default or 
incurred pursuant to RUS's obligation to make related payments to FFB 
under the RUS Guarantee on all guarantees issued by RUS to FFB for the 
benefit of the Guaranteed Lender under Section 313A of the RE Act. The 
Guaranteed Lender will also be required to agree that the pledged 
collateral can be used for such purposes.
    e. The Guaranteed Lender will be required to agree to not to take 
any action that would have the effect of reducing the value of the 
Pledged Collateral below the level described above.
    f. Applicants must certify to the RUS, the portion of their 
Eligible Loan portfolio that is:
    (1) Refinanced RUS debt;
    (2) Debt of borrowers for whom both RUS and the applicants have 
outstanding loans;
    and
    (3) Debt of borrowers for whom both RUS and the applicant have 
outstanding concurrent loans pursuant to Section 307 of the RE Act, and 
the amount of Eligible Loans.
    2. Compliance with Federal Laws. Applicants must comply with all 
applicable Federal laws and regulations.
    a. This obligation is subject to the provisions contained in the 
Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018, Public Law 115-141, Division E, 
Title VII, Sections 745 and 746, as amended and/or subsequently enacted 
for USDA agencies and offices, regarding the prohibition against RUS 
making awards to applicants having corporate felony convictions within 
the past 24 months or to applicants having corporate federal tax 
delinquencies.
    b. An authorized official within your organization must execute, 
date, and return the loan commitment letter and the Assurance Regarding 
Felony Conviction or Tax Delinquent Status for Corporate Applicants 
(Form AD-3031) to RUS within 14 calendar days from the date of the loan 
commitment letter, or by September 28, 2018, if the loan is approved 
after September 17, 2018; otherwise, the commitment will be void. This 
form is available at https://www.ocio.usda.gov/policy-directives-records-forms/forms-management/approved-computer-generated-forms.
    c. Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) Filing. The Borrower must provide 
RUS with evidence that the Borrower has filed the UCC financing 
statement required by 7 CFR 1720.8(a)(2). Upon filing of the 
appropriate UCC financing statement, the Guaranteed Lender will provide 
RUS with a perfection opinion by outside counsel which demonstrates 
that RUS's security interest in the Pledged Collateral under the Pledge 
Agreement is perfected.
    d. Additional conditions may be instituted for future obligations.

X. National Environmental Policy Act Certification

    For any proceeds to be used to refinance bonds and notes previously 
issued by the Guaranteed Lender for the RE Act purposes that are not 
obligated with specific projects, RUS has determined that these 
financial actions will not individually or cumulatively have a 
significant effect on the human environment as defined by the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and its 
implementing regulations at 40 CFR

[[Page 16047]]

parts 1500-1508. However, for any new projects funded through the 313A 
Program, applicants must consult with RUS and comply with the Agency 
regulations at 7 CFR part 1970.

XI. Other Information and Requirements

    Applications must contain all of the required elements of this NOSA 
and all standard requirements as required by 7 CFR part 1720. 
Additional supporting data or documents may be required by RUS 
depending on the individual application or financial conditions. All 
applicants must comply with all Federal Laws and Regulations.

XII. Agency Contacts

    A. Website: https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/all-programs/electric-programs.
    B. Phone: (202) 205-8663.
    C. Fax: (844) 749-0736.
    D. Email: [email protected].
    E. Main point of contact: Amy McWilliams, Management Analyst, 1400 
Independence Avenue SW, STOP 1568, Room 0226-S, Washington, DC 20250-
1568.

XIII. USDA Non-Discrimination Statement

    In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of 
Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its 
Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or 
administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on 
race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including 
gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital 
status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance 
program, political beliefs or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil 
rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA 
(not all bases apply to all programs). Remedies and complaint filing 
deadlines vary by program or incident.
    Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of 
communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, 
audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the responsible 
Agency or USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or 
contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. 
Additionally, program information may be made available in languages 
other than English.
    To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA 
Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD-3027. Individuals wishing to 
file a discrimination complaint may use the form available at https://www.ocio.usda.gov/policy-directives-records-forms/forms-management/approved-computer-generated-forms and at any USDA office, or may write 
a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the 
information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint 
form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA 
by:
    (1) Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant 
Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 
20250-9410;
    (2) Fax: (202) 690-7442; or
    (3) Email: [email protected]. USDA is an equal opportunity 
provider, employer, and lender.

    Authority:  7 U.S.C. 940c-1.

    Dated: March 28, 2018.
Christopher A. McLean,
Acting Administrator, Rural Utilities Service.
[FR Doc. 2018-07720 Filed 4-12-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE P