The Small Business Administration is prepared to give out thousands of disaster recovery loans worth billions of dollars to rebuild Houston and other Harvey-hit areas.
Linda McMahon, the SBA administrator, said the agency has $3.3 billion in disaster loan funds to cover uninsured homeowners and businesses. The SBA is adding more loan processors at its Fort Worth office to handle incoming loan applications.
“The goal is to always do this as efficiently and effectively and timely as possible, but if you’re out of your home or you’re out of your business, nothing is ever fast enough.” McMahon said at a news conference Thursday at an office south of DFW Airport in Fort Worth. “We’d just like to assure those folks who are reaching out to us that we will do everything we can possible to expedite what we can to help you get back to the most normal way of life.”
Although the SBA already has 500 employees at its Fort Worth office to help Harvey loan applicants, the administration may add up to 300 workers, and possibly more, to handle the influx of loans, said SBA district director Herbert Austin.
The SBA’s goal is to process 100,000 applications in 30 days. McMahon said the Federal Emergency Management Agency has indicated it expect 900,000 applications to come in.
So far, the SBA has granted 14 loans totaling $1.5 million related to Hurricane Harvey. The administration can grant low-interest loans up to 30 years to cover uninsured damage to homes or properties owned by businesses.
And for those who already have disaster loans that were not related to Harvey and they are located in the main disaster area, the SBA is granting a 12-month deferment so they don’t have to make payments while dealing with the aftermath of Harvey.
The administration can give out $25,000 loans without any collateral. There are, however, limits on how much it can lend to businesses and homeowners. Business loans are limited to $2 million for the repair and replacement of property, while home loans are limited to $200,000 for the repair and replacement of a house and $40,000 for personal property.
The loan interest rates range from 1.75 percent to 6.61 percent, depending on whether the loan applicant has access to credit elsewhere.