Based in Fairfield, Iowa, the privately-held broker-dealer has nearly 1,300 independent registered representatives, along with a headquarters staff of about 250 people that's fast approaching the planned 300-person capacity at the company's existing two-story, 40,000-square-foot home office built just three years ago. Cambridge expects staffing growth of 30% or more during the next few years.

Cambridge's rep business has experienced substantial growth in the past six years, more than doubling its head count from about 550 during that time. "We're having our best year ever," says spokesperson Cindy Schaus. She wouldn't disclose growth projections for Cambridge's registered reps.

The loan will enable Cambridge to build an adjacent three-story, 40,000-square-foot building that will incorporate "green design" elements. Total building costs are expected to be $6 million, with completion scheduled for 2009.

The loan is an arrangement between the broker-dealer's parent, Cambridge Investment Group; Iowa Community Development; and U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corp. and U.S. Bank's commercial lending group. The below-market-rate-of-interest loan is part of a special program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Treasury that encourages private equity investment in rural and low-income communities.