Low-interest loans for small businesses, nonprofits hurt by COVID-19

Small businesses and nonprofits in Arizona with losses that have occurred due to the coronavirus crisis can now apply for low-interest loans to keep operations running and employees paid. 

Affected companies may apply for up to $2 million through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program.  

As part of the federal government’s efforts to combat the coronavirus outbreak and minimize economic disruption to the nation’s small businesses, the agency has relaxed certain criteria to make the process quicker for those hardest hit, SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza said Thursday. 

“My responsibility as the administrator is to help as many small businesses as possible to minimize what you are facing now, your economic disruption,” Carranza said during a  webinar Thursday arranged by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber Chamber of Commerce for its 260 member chambers. 

Banks and financial institutions ready to loan 

Carranza said the agency is “very encouraged” that banks and financial institutions are responding to efforts to mobilize a public-private response to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

“As a result, most small businesses that need credit during these uncertain times will be able to obtain it,” she said. “However, our goal is to ensure that credit is available to any and all small businesses that need credit but are unable to access it on reasonable terms through traditional lending channels.” 

Loan assistance determined on case-by-case basis  

Under the disaster loan program, the SBA can provide loans to companies for working capital and to pay fixed debt, payroll, accounts payable, and bills it could have paid if the coronavirus had not occurred, SBA Associate Administrator Allen Gutierrez said.

Interest rates are 3.75 percent for small businesses. Non-profit rates are 2.75 percent. 

SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.

All 50 states approved for loan assistance 

On March 16, Governor Ducey requested the SBA issue a disaster declaration for Arizona’s small businesses affected by COVID-19. Arizona and most other states now have been approved for the disaster loans. 

For additional information about the loan program, visit: SBA.gov/Disaster.

Resources for businesses, citizens to stop the virus

National and local organizations and public health officials are providing information and guides for individuals and industry to reduce the spread of the virus.

Updates and advice are available in many forms including on the CDC and the Arizona Department of Health Services and Arizona Chamber websites.

For the business community specifically, the CDC has issued guidelines for employees to prevent the spread at: guide for employers.

What to do if you think you should be tested for COVID-19

Call your healthcare professional if you feel sick with a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or if you live in or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19. Your healthcare provider will work with the local health department and ADHS to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.For more answers to frequently asked questions and information about the COVID-19 response in Arizona, go online to azhealth.gov/COVID19.

Victoria Harker

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