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Puerto Rico/USVI businesses approved for $2B+ in SBA COVID disaster loans

The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved more than 28,000 loans to businesses in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands exceeding $2 billion through its COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, it announced.

When broken down, Puerto Rico-based small businesses have been approved for 26,751 loans, worth $2 billion, while the USVI has received approvals for 1,833 loans totaling $121.4 million.

Since its inception, the COVID EIDL program, a federal disaster relief loan designed to support small business communities still reeling from the pandemic — especially hard-hit sectors such as restaurants, gyms, and hotels — has approved nearly $300 billion in relief aid.

The agency is now urging eligible participants to submit EIDL loan and targeted advance applications by the Dec. 31, which “will continue to be processed after this date until funds are exhausted.”

“The SBA cannot continue to process Supplemental Targeted Advance applications after Dec. 31 and strongly encourages eligible small businesses to apply by Dec. 10 to ensure adequate processing time,” it added.

Borrowers can request increases up to their maximum eligible loan amount for up to two years after their loan origination date, or until the funds are exhausted, whichever is soonest, the agency noted.

“The COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance programs still have billions of dollars available to help small businesses hard hit by the pandemic. More than 3.8 million businesses employing more than 20 million people have found financial relief through SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans,” said Patrick Kelley, associate ddministrator for SBA’s Office of Capital Access.

“Key enhancements have been made to the loan program that will help our nation’s businesses recover and get back on track,” Kelley said.

In September, SBA Administrator Isabella Guzman announced changes to the COVID EIDL program, including lifting the cap from $500,000 to $2 million, implementing a deferred payment period, establishing a 30-day exclusivity window to approve and disburse funds for loans of $500,000 or less, and expanding the eligible use of funds.

Loan funds can be used for any normal operating expenses and working capital, including payroll, purchasing equipment, and paying off debt.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 30 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 segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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