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Jeff. Co. gets millions in SBA loans

By Colleen Harrison



As Port Arthur and the surrounding areas work to rebuild in Tropical Storm Harvey’s aftermath, loans from the United States Small Business Administration are being granted to help expedite the process.

SBA Public Information Officer Susheel Kumar said that statewide in Texas, about 8,100 loans have been approved by the SBA as of Oct. 3 for a grand total of $678 million loaned out. Kumar said those numbers are still preliminary, as the deadline to apply for physical damage is Oct. 24, and the deadline to file for economic injury is May 25, 2018.

As of Oct. 3, Kumar said a total of 33,750 disaster loan applications had been issued in Jefferson County, with 3,949 of them being received back. Of those 3,949 applications, 487 were approved with a total of $41.5 million in loans granted so far.

In Orange County, Kumar said a total of 17,607 applications have been issued as of Tuesday. Of those 17,607 applications, 2,952 of them have been returned. The number of approved SBA disaster loan applications so far for Orange County are 403 applications for a total of $42 million granted in loans.

There are three different types of disaster loans available through the SBA: business physical disaster loans, economic injury disaster loans and home disaster loans.

Business physical disaster loans are meant to repair or replace disaster damage to property owned by a business. Economic disaster loans are working capital to help small businesses, agricultural cooperatives, businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private, nonprofit organizations that can’t meet financial obligations as a direct result of Harvey. Home disaster loans go to homeowners or renters to repair or replace disaster-damaged real estate and personal property, including vehicles.

Credit requirements for SBA loans include an acceptable credit history, a proven ability to repay loans, and collateral is required for physical loss and EIDL loans over $25,000. The SBA won’t decline a loan for lack of collateral, but requires applicants to pledge what’s available.

Linda Tait of the Texas Gulf Coast SBDC Network has been helping people with their applications. She said the entire process can take about 30 days, and while applications are available online, the entire application can’t be filled out online. To help expedite the loan application process, Tait said people should take plenty of photos of the damage done to their property, and should try to get as many corresponding application materials together before meeting with someone to help apply for the loans. The application process can take a few hours at times, she said.