Little Rock, AR -- Arkansas winter ice storm victims are urged to complete and submit their U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan applications.
"There is help available for those who need it," said SBA's Area Director, Raymond P. Chatham. "For the fastest response, it is important to return the complete application to us as soon as possible.
Officials from SBA say that returning the SBA application does not obligate an applicant to accept a loan but it is a necessary step before being considered for other forms of disaster assistance.
So far, of the more than 6,671 SBA loan packets issued to Arkansas area residents and businesses, only 52 have been returned to SBA.
Renters, homeowners and business owners in 52 counties are eligible to apply for the loans because of President Clinton's Dec. 29, 2000 disaster declaration. The loan applications are sent to individuals and businesses owners who register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and report structural damage or personal property losses.
SBA disaster loans cover uninsured or underinsured disaster losses. Loans of up to $200,000 can be made to repair disaster-damaged primary residences. Qualified homeowners and renters may borrow up to $40,000 to replace personal property such as furniture, automobiles, clothing and other household fixtures.
Loans of up to $1.5 million are available to businesses and nonprofit organizations to repair damaged real estate, machinery, equipment and inventory. Economic Injury Disaster Loans also are available to businesses that are unable to pay bills or meet ongoing expenses because of the disaster.
SBA loans are just one of several state and federal disaster assistance programs triggered by a single phone call. Registrations are made by calling toll free, 800-462-9029 (TTY 800-462-7585 for people with hearing or speech impairments) from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily until further notice.
Here are a few pointers about SBA loans:
- Don't wait for insurance settlements before returning the loan application. If insurance payments do come later, these proceeds can be used to pay off loan balances.
- There is no penalty if an SBA loan is paid off early.
- Most loans are made at an interest rate ranging from 3.5-4 percent. The maximum term of an SBA loan is 30 years.
- Individuals who do not qualify for an SBA loan are referred to the state's Individual and Family Grant Program for possible grant assistance. Individuals referred to the SBA for loan assistance must be declined for an SBA loan before consideration for a grant. Grants are not available for businesses.