In-Brief

Puerto Rico credit unions ‘ready’ to process SBA loans for small businesses

The Credit Union Executives Association (ASEC, in Spanish) announced that credit unions that have members who own businesses and commercial clients, are ready to process loan applications for the second round of assistance funding through the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Puerto Rico has more credit unions certified as SBA Lenders than banking institutions and “they’re available to support small businesses affected by the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic as soon as the funds under discussion in Congress are released,” José Julián Ramírez, executive director of ASEC, said.

For this second round of funding, the SBA resolved the administrative delay that prevented local, federal, and other nonprofit cooperatives from accessing the Payroll Protection Program’s loan processing system, he said.
“We recognize the pressing need that exists among our partner companies and commercial clients to access financing to give some stability to their operations in the midst of this unprecedented situation,” said Ramírez.

The eight SBA Lender-certified credit unions are: CamuyCo-op; Caribe FCU; CooPACA; Co-op Jesús Obrero; Co-op Oriental; Co-op Zeno Gandía; MaunaCoop; and VegaCo-op.

“They already have access to the PPP system and will be diligent in processing the applications and their requirements as quickly as possible,” said Ramírez, adding that this group will receive referrals from other credit unions that are not SBA-certified.

After the first round of funding allocations closed last week, local credit unions denounced the slowness with which the federal government responded to their request to access the system, giving priority to private banks. Local lenders approved 2,856 loans worth $658.5 million last week.

“The intention of our credit unions has always been to act proactively in favor of small businesses, which are in our communities, employ our neighbors and sustain their economic activity,” said Ramírez.

Author Details
Business reporter with 25 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other areas of the economy.

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