Five Questions With: Kimberly W. Mooers

Kimberly W. Mooers is executive director of the Rhode Island Health and Educational Building Corp. She has worked in public finance for 27 years, in roles including public finance investment banker, issuer and municipal adviser before joining RIHEBC in 2018. She has a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and a master’s degree in business administration from Boston College.

PBN: RIHEBC has just announced a new equipment financing program. Can you tell us about that and who is eligible?

MOOERS: The equipment financing program addresses the need for cost-effective financing of equipment purchases for our eligible 501(c)3 health care and educational borrowers. Our bread-and-butter program, bond financing, is a fantastic way to finance construction and renovation projects and, yes, even equipment, but it is much more time-consuming and expensive. By standardizing program documents and streamlining the process, we hope to finance equipment purchases as small as $1.5 million.

 

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PBN: How has RIHEBC been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and how have you reacted to the crisis?

MOOERS: The reality is RIHEBC’s operations have been minimally impacted, other than getting our jobs done working from home and holding board meetings virtually. However, the impact on our borrowers has been the primary topic of discussion at our board meetings. We implemented an emergency loan program to assist our constituents with cash flow problems and continue to explore a COVID grant program.

PBN: How has the crisis impacted the municipal bond market? Has that had any implications for RIHEBC and your borrowers?

MOOERS: The municipal bond market came to a complete standstill in March and April. After the federal government injected $500 billion of liquidity into the market in early April, the bond market began to rebound and has, for the most part, now normalized. Interest rates are extremely low and it is a great time to get into the market. The frozen market earlier this year simply meant that our borrowers had to delay their bond issuances, but they have since gotten done at a really beneficial cost to borrow.

PBN: RIHEBC has for years helped finance the construction and renovation of public school projects across the state. What role is RIHEBC playing since voters approved the $250 million school construction bond?

MOOERS: The statewide bond issue funded what are called pay-go grants, state-funded grants that are injected into a school construction project at the beginning in order to reduce the amount that is needed to borrow. RIHEBC administers the pay-go grant program, and we continue to serve as the bond issuer for public school construction projects eligible for housing aid.

PBN: You became RIHEBC’s executive director two years ago. What have you learned and what initiatives have you been focused on?

MOOERS: It has been my privilege to meet so many leaders in the health care, education and municipal space in Rhode Island, and from those meetings I have learned that these leaders are unwaveringly dedicated to their missions and to improving their institutions for the benefit of Rhode Islanders. Since arriving here, I have worked to make our financing process a bit easier and more transparent, to connect personally with our constituents, and to explore new programs, including the now-implemented equipment finance program.

Nancy Lavin is a staff writer for the PBN. Contact her at Lavin@PBN.com.