- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 15, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The U.S. Agriculture Department says more than 6,900 families used its rural home loan program to buy a house in fiscal year 2013.

In a news release, the USDA says 119 private lenders in Tennessee participated in the program, which gives buyers of homes in rural areas access to loans with competitive rates.

The USDA says the total private and public investment by those using the program topped $846 million in Tennessee last year.

The department says First Community Mortgage of Murfreesboro made more than $84 million in rural home loans, tops in the state last year.

USDA rural home loans may be made without a down payment and applicants may qualify for up to 100 percent financing. Interest rates can be as low as 1 percent for qualified borrowers.

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