HURRICANE HARVEY AND HURRICANE IRMA: SBA DISASTER LOAN RELIEF
In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas and in the wake of Hurricane Harvey that is currently reeking havoc in Florida, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will eventually play a major role in disaster relief – just like when the SBA provided disaster-assistance loans for the 9/11 tragedies and Hurricane Katrina.
SBA disaster loans are the primary form of Federal assistance for nonfarm, private sector disaster losses. For this reason, the disaster loan program is the only form of SBA assistance not limited to small businesses. Disaster loans from SBA help homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and nonprofit organizations fund rebuilding.
SBA disaster loans are a critical source of economic stimulus in disaster ravaged communities, helping to spur employment and stabilize tax bases.
By providing disaster assistance in the form of loans which are repaid to the Treasury, the SBA disaster loan program helps reduce Federal disaster costs compared to other forms of assistance, such as grants. When disaster victims need to borrow to repair uninsured damages, the low interest rates and long terms available from SBA make recovery affordable. Because SBA tailors the repayment of each disaster loan to each borrower's financial capability, unnecessary interest subsidies paid by the taxpayers are avoided. Moreover, providing disaster assistance in the form of loans rather than grants avoids creating an incentive for property owners to underinsure against risk. Disaster loans require borrowers to maintain appropriate hazard and flood insurance coverage, thereby reducing the need for future disaster assistance.
The SBA is authorized by the Small Business Act to make two types of disaster loans:
Physical disaster loans are a primary source of funding for permanent rebuilding and replacement of uninsured disaster damages to privately-owned real and/or personal property. SBA physical disaster loans are available to homeowners, renters, nonfarm businesses of all sizes and nonprofit organizations.
Economic injury disaster loans provide necessary working
capital until normal operations resume after a physical
disaster. The law restricts economic injury disaster loans
to small businesses only.
The disaster program is SBA largest direct loan program, and the only SBA program for entities other than small businesses. By law, neither governmental units nor agricultural enterprises are eligible; agricultural producers may seek disaster assistance from specialized programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Disaster victims must repay SBA disaster loans. SBA can only approve loans to applicants with a reasonable ability to repay the loan and other obligations from earnings. The terms of each loan are established in accordance with each borrower's ability to repay. The law gives SBA several powerful tools to make disaster loans affordable: low interest rates (around 4%), long terms (up to 30 years), and refinancing of prior debts (in some cases). As required by law, the interest rate for each loan is based on SBA determination of whether each applicant does or does not have credit available elsewhere (the ability to borrow or use their own resources to overcome the disaster). Generally, over 90% of SBA disaster loans are to borrowers without credit available elsewhere and have an interest rate of around 4%.
Types of SBA Disaster Loans:
SBA Home Disaster Loans. Loans to homeowners or renters to repair or replace disaster damages to real estate or personal property owned by the victim. Renters are eligible for their personal property losses.
SBA Business Physical Disaster Loans. Loans to businesses to repair or replace disaster damages to property owned by the business, including real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and supplies. Businesses of any size are eligible. Non-profit organizations such as charities, churches, private universities, etc. are also eligible.
SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). Loans for working capital to small businesses and small agricultural cooperatives to assist them through the disaster recovery period. EIDL assistance is available only to applicants with no credit available elsewhere - if the business and its owners cannot provide for their own recovery from non-government sources.
Repayment. SBA disaster assistance is in the form of loans.
Applicants must show the ability to repay all loans.
Collateral. Collateral is required for all physical loss loans over $10,000 and all EIDL loans over $5,000. SBA takes real estate as collateral where it is available. Applicants do not need to have full collateral; SBA will take what is available to secure each loan.
By law, the interest rates depend on whether each applicant has credit available elsewhere. An applicant does not have credit available elsewhere when SBA determines that the applicant does not have sufficient funds or other resources, or the ability to borrow from non-government sources, to provide for its own disaster recovery. An applicant which SBA determines can so provide for its own recovery has credit available elsewhere.
Generally, SBA determines that over 90% of disaster loan applicants do not have credit available elsewhere.
The law authorizes loan terms up to a maximum of 30 years However, for businesses with credit available elsewhere, the law limits the loan term to a maximum of 3 years.
SBA determines the term of each loan in accordance with the borrower's ability to repay. Based on the financial circumstances of each borrower, SBA determines an appropriate installment payment amount, which in turn determines the actual term.
Loan Amount Limits:
Home Loan amounts are limited by SBA regulation to $200,000 to repair/replace real estate and $40,000 to repair/replace personal property. The actual amount of each loan, up to these maximums, is limited to the verified uninsured disaster loss. Refinancing of existing mortgages on homes is eligible in some cases up to the amount of the loan for real estate repair/replacement. Loan amounts may be increased by up to 20% for devices to mitigate against damage to the real property of the same type as the disaster.
Business Loan amounts are limited by law to $1,500,000 for real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and all other physical losses. The actual amount of each loan, up to this maximum, is limited to the verified uninsured disaster loss. Refinancing of existing mortgages or liens on real estate and machinery and equipment is eligible in some cases up to the amount of the loan for real estate and machinery and equipment repair/replacement. Loan amounts may be increased by up to 20% for devices to mitigate against damage to the real property of the same type as the disaster.
Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) amounts are limited by law to $1,500,000. The actual amount of each loan, up to this maximum, is limited to the actual economic injury as calculated by SBA, not compensated by business interruption insurance or otherwise, and beyond the ability of the business and/or its owners to provide.
The $1,500,000 statutory limit for business loans applies to the combination of physical and economic injury, and also applies to all disaster loans to a business and its affiliates. If a business is a major source of employment, SBA has authority to waive the $1,500,000 statutory limit.
Loan Eligibility Restrictions:
Uninsured Losses. Only uninsured or otherwise uncompensated disaster losses are eligible. Any insurance proceeds which are required to be applied against outstanding mortgages are not available to fund disaster repairs and do not reduce loan eligibility.
However, any insurance proceeds voluntarily applied to any outstanding mortgages do reduce loan eligibility.
Ineligible Property. Secondary homes, personal pleasure boats, airplanes, recreational vehicles and similar property is not eligible, unless used for business purposes. Property such as antiques and collections is eligible only to the extent of its functional value. Amounts for landscaping, swimming pools, etc. are limited.
Noncompliance. Applicants who have not complied with the terms of previous loans are not eligible. This includes prior borrowers who did not maintain required flood insurance.
SBA can refinance all or part of prior mortgages, evidenced by a recorded lien, when the applicant (1) does not have credit available elsewhere, (2) has suffered substantial disaster damage (40% or more of the value of the property), and (3) intends to repair the damage. Refinancing of prior debts improves the victim's ability to afford the SBA disaster loan.
Use of SBA disaster loans for relocating is subject to limitations. Generally, victims may relocate where they need to do so for reasons beyond their control. If the victim is forced by state or local authorities to relocate, the amount of eligibility is the replacement cost of the property which must be abandoned.
To protect each borrower and SBA, SBA requires borrowers to obtain and maintain appropriate insurance. Borrowers of all secured loans (physical loans over $10,000 and economic injury loans over $5,000) must purchase and maintain full hazard insurance for the life of the loan. Borrowers whose property is located in a special flood hazard area must purchase and maintain flood insurance for the full insurable value of the property for the life of the loan.
If you are facing an SBA loan default or a Treasury/Bureau of Fiscal Service debt problem that has been referred to a Private Collection Agency stemming from a defaulted SBA Disaster Loan, contact us today for a FREE initial consultation with an experienced attorney at 888-756-9969 or visits us at www.SBA-Attorneys.com.
We can analyze your SBA loan, Treasury/BFS debt or Private Collection Agency problem and advise you on potential solutions.
Helping provide real solutions to individuals who are facing SBA loan problems. Contact one of our experienced SBA Attorneys and Federal Agency Practitioners today for a Free Case Evaluation - (888) 756-9969.