In 2021 alone, 61,000 SBA loans were issued to small businesses through Small Business Administration. This means that $44.8 billion in funding got directed at small businesses.
Small businesses have faced more than their share of challenges working through a global pandemic. While the economy has presented as strong, many businesses that already have loans continue to struggle.
If you're a small business owner who holds an SBA loan and you're facing a possible default, you need to explore your options.
What does it take to get an SBA loan deferment? Will you qualify to defer your loan payments? How long will a deferment allow you to put off making your payments?
Getting a loan deferment might be the difference between staying afloat and going under for some businesses. Read on to learn what you need to know about what it takes to qualify for an SBA loan deferment.
What Is an SBA Loan Deferment?
Let's first consider what you know about SBA loans. When you applied for an SBA loan, it was through a private lender who issued the money. The loan, in most cases, wasn't issued by the SBA.
Instead, the loan was issued by the lender you applied to, but it was backed for the lender by the SBA. The SBA helps define the terms of the loans depending on the type of loan you signed up for.
An SBA loan deferment would mean you can go back to your lender and ask them to defer payments on the loan temporarily.
The SBA allows most lenders the authority to defer a loan for a small period. Of course, many Covid relief loans came with built-in deferment options. Some even came with the option for loan forgiveness. More on these loans shortly.
Why Would a Loan Deferment Be Granted?
It's essential to understand why a loan deferment might get issued.
The SBA wants to see your business functioning. But they also understand there can be external factors that might impact your business and its ability to make money.
A loan deferment would be granted because your business is facing a hurdle from an external source. This might include something like:
- Natural disaster
- Global pandemic
- Construction on your business's street
These external factors that your business can't control will still impact your business and its ability to make money. A loan deferment is typically granted because your business faces an external obstacle like these examples.
Loan Deferment Options
Your loan deferment options will depend on several factors. You don't want to wait until you default on your loan before seeking a deferment.
Plan ahead and try to anticipate when you might need help. Your options will depend on why you need a deferment and the type of SBA loan you currently hold.
Many COVID-EIDL loans came with provisions for deferment. More on this shortly.
SBA Loan Deferment: How It Works
Your lender grants an SBA loan deferment not the SBA. In fact, the lender can arrange a loan deferment without any involvement or approval from the SBA.
This is the point where it's critical to recognize you need help and seek it. If you anticipate an issue making your payments, you need to communicate with your lender.
While for many, it can feel easier to avoid the problem and pretend it doesn't exist. Your lender will be more willing to work with you if you openly communicate with them.
An SBA lender has the authority to provide a deferment for an average of up to six months with any communication with the SBA.
It's important, though, that you understand the terms of the deferment. Each lender can set the terms up how they wish. A lender might opt to:
- Stop principal and interest payments
- Reduce overall payments
- Set up interest-only payments
It's important to both communicate and negotiate with your lender so you get the kind of deferment that will genuinely help your business in the short term. You don't want to agree to terms of a deferment that you already know you can't meet.
Covid - EIDL Deferment
There were COVID-EIDL loans issued directly from the SBA in 2020, 2021, and 2022. These loans came with built-in deferment as part of the loan terms.
The loans were made available through the CARES Act, which has seen several updates. Now, if you were issued a Covid-EIDL loan during this time period, you have an automatic 30-month deferment from when the loan was issued.
You don't have to apply or do anything for this deferment. It is important to note that while you can defer paying on this type of loan for that period of time, the interest on the loan will continue to accrue. Interest is not deferred.
SBA Loan Default
It's also important to understand what can happen if you default on an SBA loan.
There are a number of ways that the SBA can seek payment on past due debts. These include:
- Administrative wage garnishment
- Tax refund offset
- Salary offset for federal employees
- Administrative offset
It's also important for a borrower to understand the SBA loan default statute of limitations. Basically, the SBA has six years to seek compensation for a defaulted loan before the statute of limitations expires.
Get Help With Your SBA Loan
If you're facing hardship in your business, it can feel scary and overwhelming. You might even be facing situations where you legitimately don't know your options or what you should do.
This is the time to seek legal help. An SBA attorney specializes in this type of problem and will know best what options you have. They can also work to negotiate on your behalf.
Get Your SBA Loan Deferment
An SBA loan deferment can provide just the help your small business needs if you're facing tough times. You just need to know how to ask for and negotiate the deferment you need.
Let an SBA attorney who knows the ropes help you with your SBA loan. It's probably smart to get some legal advice before agreeing to any more terms with your SBA loan. Contact us today to connect with an attorney who can help you.