• By Pacific island Times News Staff

Torres announces economic injury loans for small businesses


Saipan-- CNMI Gov. Ralph DLG. Torres recently announced that the US Small Business Administration (SBA) is now offering federal assistance to all CNMI businesses and nonprofit organizations, who have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak and the loss of tourists coming into the CNMI.

“In accordance with my recent request to the US Small Business Administration (SBA), I'm pleased to inform all of you that SBA is now offering low-interest federal disaster loans for small businesses and non-profit organizations of any size, including agricultural cooperatives and aquaculture enterprises, here in the CNMI,” Governor Torres said.

“We strongly encourage all impacted businesses and organizations to apply for these economic injury disaster loans.”

Businesses may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million to mitigate the economic loss of our tourism industry as a result of COVID-19.

“I want to thank President Donald J. Trump, SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza, and our private sector leaders Saipan Chamber of Commerce, Northern Marianas Business Alliance, and the Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands for working with me and for sharing this opportunity with the business community. This is a collaborative effort to protect our businesses and their employees, because they are a vital part of our economy,” Governor Torres added.

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan program may apply to “small businesses, private non-profit organizations of any size, small agricultural cooperatives and small aquaculture enterprises that have been financially impacted as a direct result of the COVID-19.

The loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. Disaster loans can provide vital economic assistance to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan offers an interest rate of 3.75 percent for small businesses and an interest rate of 2.75 percent for non-profit organizations.

To apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information, and download applications, visit http://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

All applications must be completed and mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155 no later than December 21, 2020.

For more information on the SBA disaster assistance, contact the SBA’s Customer Service Center, call (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Individuals who are deaf of hard of hearing may call (800) 877-8339.

Available SBA resources and services can be found on their website: SBA.gov/coronavirus.

SBA announces automatic deferment on existing disaster loans through the end of 2020

In an effort assist small businesses with existing disaster loans during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the U.S. Small Business Administration has informed Governor Ralph DLG. Torres that all SBA disaster loan payments will be automatically deferred through Dec. 31, 2020.

In a statement released by U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza, she stated, “The SBA is looking at every option and taking every action to cut red tape and make it easier for small businesses to stay in business. Automatically deferring existing SBA disaster loans through the end of the year will help borrowers during this unprecedented time.”

This is one of the many actions that SBA is taking to assist small businesses across the nation. In addition to this deferment, SBA has made it easier for states and territories, including the CNMI, to apply for new economic injury disaster loans and to allow for one-year deferments on those loans.

In response to the notice from SBA, Governor Torres stated, “We would like to thank President Donald J. Trump and U.S. SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza for continuing to find ways to assist and support all small businesses across the nation, most especially here in the CNMI. This is a critical time for small businesses in the Commonwealth, some of who are still recovering from the economic impacts of Super Typhoon Yutu. This deferment will help alleviate some of their economic losses and help keep them afloat through this pandemic.”

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