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TRENTON, NJ-The New Jersey Economic Development Authority plans to lower its interest rates on select lending programs, an action, officials say, in support of Gov. Jon S. Corzine’s efforts to generate increased economic activity in the state. The EDA board yesterday, at its regular monthly meeting, took that action by approving a reduction of interest rate floors by 100 basis points, equivalent to 1%, on several of its programs, “to meet the changing needs of the marketplace,” says a prepared statement.

“The US Federal Reserve recently announced cuts in interest rates to lower the cost of borrowing, and to help speed economic activity,” says EDA chief executive officer Caren S. Franzini. “This action today will allow us to remain a competitive lender and to effectively support Gov. Corzine’s economic growth strategies.”

The EDA plans to adjust its rates downward on some of its programs to as low as 2%. Interest rate ceilings would not be altered by the action. Specifically, the change would impact EDA financing assistance that is offered under certain urban loan programs, as well as direct loans offered through the EDA with variable rates, which would see a new interest rate floor of 2% instead of the current 3% rate.

Other small-business and brownfields lending programs offered by EDA, along with fixed interest rate direct loans, would carry new interest rate floors of 3%. They now have those floors set at a 4% interest rate.

The EDA is an independent, self-sustaining state financing and development agency that works to promote economic growth, job creation and revitalization activities of New Jersey’s communities. That effort comes in the form of financing assistance, technical support and entrepreneurial training, as well as real estate development activities. Among other things, EDA is developing the New Jersey Technology Center along Route 1 in North Brunswick.

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