The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on people’s health and the economy, with small business owners and nonprofits being the most affected sectors.
To continue to support these groups, FirstBank, in conjunction with the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York (FHLBNY), announced that they will be granting $240,000 to 40 entities in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands under the Small Business Recovery Grant Program to cover employee payroll expenses related to COVID-19, prevent job losses, purchase equipment needed to comply with the required public health measures, and for working capital.
“The Small Business Recovery Grant Program was created to aid business owners or organizations that suffered a reduction in income of 25% or more as a result of the crisis caused by COVID-19,” said Aysha Issa, senior vice president of Retail and Small Business Banking at FirstBank.
“At FirstBank we’re highly committed to supporting them. Through our Small Business Unit and Community Reinvestment Department, we identified customers and organizations in Puerto Rico and the USVI that needed an injection of capital to begin operations or that were having difficulties meeting their operational obligations, so that they could benefit from receiving a grant of up to $10,000 each,” she said.
As part of the CARES Act funding, the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York offered the Small Business Recovery Grant Program with a total of $5 million in funds to benefit small business owners and nonprofits in Puerto Rico, the USVI, and several U.S. states.
“As participating members of the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, we collaborated with them to identify businesses that qualified for the grants, gathered and verified the required eligibility documents, and created a transparent decision-making process for the benefit of the applicants,” Issa said.
“These funds have made it possible for these organizations to evolve in a difficult economic climate by allowing them to acquire equipment, inventory, and capital to make their payroll payments,” she added.
Meanwhile, Carmen Pagán, senior vice president of Compliance Department at FirstBank said the bank’s “commitment as members of the Federal Home Loan Bank is to continue to participate in the programs offered by the entity to help small business owners and nonprofit organizations achieve their economic recovery.”