SBA: Applicants must be legal to avail of loan

The U.S. Small Business Administration said that applicants should be legally able to avail of the loans that they are offering as the CNMI recovers from two destructive typhoons—Typhoon Mangkhut on Rota in September and Super Typhoon Yutu on Saipan and Tinian last month.

As of Nov. 23, Friday, the SBA had already approved a total of 32 loans—29 for homes and three for businesses—totaling to $1,004,600 ($979,500 and $25,100) for Typhoon Mangkhut on Rota. There are already 61 home application loans approved for Super Typhoon Yutu amounting to $2,998,400, while businesses on Saipan and Tinian have yet to apply.

“Qualified applicants must be U.S. citizens or not citizens that are qualified. As long as you are legally able to assume a loan, unlike the Federal Emergency Management Agency, where parents can apply on behalf of their U.S. citizen kids,” said SBA public information officer Cynthia Cowell.

“If there are other questions about citizenship or qualifications of applying, we suggest that they go to the Disaster Recovery Center,” said Cowell.

On Saipan, the DRC is at the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center with FEMA.

A separate Business Recovery Center is located at the Saipan Chamber Commerce at the Marianas Business Plaza, formerly Nauru Building, in Susupe and they are open from 8am to 4pm from Mondays to Saturdays.

The amount and the terms could be up to 30 years—both depending on the need of the applicant.

“We can make your loans up to 30 years, but we will determine what kind of affordable payment works for you on a monthly basis and we will also determine the loan terms after that. The loan process will be decided on the needs of the applicant when assessed,” added Cowell. “For example, if you only lost a car, then we won’t be giving you a $200,000 loan, although that’s personal property. As much as possible…we’re going to try and get you back in the position you were the day before Yutu or Mangkhut hit.”

Cowell said homeowners and renters, businesses of all sizes, and private and non-profit organizations can avail of their loans. “The SBA is willing and wants to help the [CNMI] as much as we can.”

She added that businesses impacted by Yutu could apply to avail of loans up to $2 million to either repair fixtures, their facilities, buildings, parking lots, and inventories. “Economic injury disaster loans can be up to $2 million to help with working capital. To stay in business when times are low.”

Business that did not have any physical damage but their business is off because of the storm can also apply for an SBA loan, Cowell said. “Let’s say the grocery is closed due to power outage, even for a couple of days. The loan is just for working capital, until things pick up again.”

Homeowners, meanwhile, can get up to $200,000 to either repair and replace their homes, including mitigation to strengthen their houses or to make it typhoon-resilient. Homeowners and renters can also get $40,000 in loans to replace their personal property, including cars damaged during the typhoon.

“We have mitigation loans available and that is something that we could talk about in your loan processing. Mitigation loan is always a good thing,” said Cowell.

She is also encouraging people to apply for a loan, even if they think that they won’t be needing one. “If you think that you don’t want one or won’t be needing another loan, we ask you to still apply.”

“Because, if you decide that you don’t want a loan, that won’t be a problem. No harm, no foul, and no charge. If you decide you only need a part of the loan, you only pay back what you actually needed.”

Interest rates for homeowners and renters are as low as 2 percent, private and non-profit at 2.5 percent, and businesses at 4 percent. Landlords that have property damage could also apply as a business while tenants would be eligible for personal property loans.

Businesses and residents affected by Typhoon Mangkhut have until Nov. 28, 2018, to submit their applications for property damage while economic injury applications for businesses is due by July 1, 2019.

As for Super Typhoon Yutu victims with property damage, both business and residents, they have until Dec. 26, 2018, to submit their loan applications while for businesses that want to avail of economic injury loans will have a July 26, 2019, deadline.
For more information, visit sba.gov/disaster.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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