Consider consolidating loans.

ATLANTA — Gov. Brian P. Kemp and the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center (SBDC) have created an overview of the funding allocated by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This critical funding will help small businesses keep workers employed during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Through the University of Georgia’s 17 Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), in conjunction with the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) and Department of Community Affairs (DCA), the state has launched an information website to provide guidance on accessing a variety of U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) programs.

These state partners will host a series of web-based information sessions tailored to each region of the state. In addition, SBDC will be available to assist businesses, where necessary. Information for the webinar for Region 5, which includes Newton County, is as follows:

Region 5  – Tuesday, April 7, 10 a.m.

Call-In: +1 (646) 876-9923 US
Meeting ID: 276 560 811

Contact: UGA SBDC in Athens, 706-542-7436 or athens@georgiasbdc.org

Information for the webinar for Region 3, which includes Rockdale County, is as follows:

Region 3 (Session 4) – Tuesday, April 7, 1 p.m.

Call-In: +1 (646) 876-9923 US
Meeting ID: 780 700 152

Contact: UGA SBDC in Gwinnett, (678) 985-6820 or gwinnett@georgiasbdc.org

Region 3 (Session 5) – Tuesday, April 7, 4 p.m.

Call-In: +1 (646) 876-9923 US
Meeting ID: 239 128 948

Contact: UGA SBDC in DeKalb, (770) 414-3110 or dekalb@georgiasbdc.org

The CARES Act provides funds for SBA to aid small businesses through its network of private small business lenders. Georgia has more than 70 qualified SBA lenders.

"Small businesses are the engine of Georgia's economy and provide economic opportunity for millions of Georgia families," said Kemp. "As we continue to fight the spread of COVID-19, this critical resource will provide a lifeline to small businesses across our state. I am encouraging all Georgians to support their local businesses in this difficult time. We will get through this together."

“The Georgia Department of Economic Development is continuing to work with our partners statewide to confront COVID-19 and move forward together,” said GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson. “We thank Gov. Kemp, DCA, and SBDC for working together with us to better and more efficiently serve our state’s small businesses at this time of great need.”

“DCA is proud to work with our state partners to support the small businesses that are such a vital part of the communities we serve," said DCA Commissioner Christopher Nunn.

“The University of Georgia has a strong track record of helping to develop new small businesses across the state. Assisting these firms to navigate COVID-19 aligns perfectly with our land-grant mission,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead.

Loan Payment Relief


SBA will pay the principal, interest, and any associated fees owed on 7(a) loans as follows:

▪ Existing borrower not on deferment: six months beginning with the next payment due on the loan;
▪ Existing borrower on deferment: six months of payments beginning with the next payment due on the loan after the deferment period; and
▪ New borrower: six months of payments beginning with the first payment due on the loan, but only for new loans made within the first six months starting from the date of enactment.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)

▪ Eligibility: Businesses with 500 employees or fewer. This includes sole proprietorships, independent contractors, cooperatives, ESPOs, and tribal small businesses with <= 500 employees.
▪ Up to $2 million can be provided to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses that could have been met if the disaster did not occur.
▪ Loans can be made based solely on credit scores.
▪ The interest rate on EIDLs will be 3.75 percent interest rate for small businesses.
▪ The first twelve payments will be deferred and not become due until one year after the original disbursement. Interest does not accrue during this time.
▪ The term of these loans will be up to thirty years.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)

▪ Eligibility: Businesses with 500 employees or fewer. This includes sole proprietorships, independent contractors, cooperatives, ESPOs, and tribal small businesses with <= 500 employees.
▪ Up to $2 million can be provided to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses that could have been met if the disaster did not occur.
▪ Loans can be made based solely on credit scores.
▪ The interest rate on EIDLs will be 3.75 percent interest rate for small businesses.
▪ The first twelve payments will be deferred and not become due until one year after the original disbursement. Interest does not accrue during this time.
▪ The term of these loans will be up to thirty years.

Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Advance

▪ Eligibility: Advances are available to small businesses, sole proprietors, independent contractors, tribal businesses, as well as cooperatives and employee-owned businesses in operation on January 31, 2020.
▪ For those that apply for the EIDL, an advance of up to $10,000 will be provided to small businesses within several days of applying for the loan.
▪ The advance does not need to be repaid, even if the grantee is subsequently denied an EDL.
▪ Funds can be used to provide paid sick leave to employees, maintain payroll, meet increased production costs due to supply chain disruptions, or pay business obligations, including debts, rent, and mortgage payments.

Small Business Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
A new $349 billion lending program under the existing SBA 7(a) program. The SBA guarantee of PPP loans will be 100 percent through the end of 2020. PPP loan payments will be deferred for a minimum of six and up to twelve months. Loans will be administered through local and regional banks; any federally regulated bank may become an SBA lender for this purpose. The Department of the Treasury will issue regulations for these loans quickly.

▪ Eligibility: Small businesses as defined by SBA size standards, generally up to 500 employees, but up to 1,500 depending on the sector; sole proprietors, the self-employed, and independent contractors.
▪ The interest rate will not exceed 4 percent; currently fixed at 0.5 percent.
▪ Regulatory streamlining: SBA's standard "no credit elsewhere" test is waived, no personal guarantee or collateral required, and no additional fees will be applied to these loans.
▪ Size of loans: Up to $10 million. Loan amount is based on recent payroll costs, compensation paid to individuals, including those who are self-employed. Compensation in excess of $100,000 per year to any individual is excluded.
▪ Requirements: The business must certify the loan will be used to retain workers, maintain payroll, make mortgage or lease payments, and pay utilities.
▪ Loans may be forgiven, up to an amount equaling eligible payroll, mortgage interest, rent and utility cost, incurred during the eight-week period starting from the loan origination. Compensation in excess of $100,000 a year to any individual will not qualify for forgiveness. Additionally, loan forgiveness is reduced by layoffs or pay reductions in excess of 25 percent, and loan forgiveness is not treated as taxable income.

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Editor

I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.

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