Federal, state and local governments, advocacy groups and major and local commercial banks have swung into action to assist small businesses affected by Hurricane Sandy. From the U.S. Small Business Administration to the tiny Mount Vernon Chamber of Commerce in New York, efforts are under way to help businesses recover from the devastation inflicted on the East Coast during the week of Oct. 29.
The final tally is not yet in, but estimates of the destruction to small businesses are in the billions of dollars. Bank of America says its small business customers alone will need $2.5 billion in additional credit to recover. Here are some of the assistance programs made available to small businesses in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane.
Small businesses located within the latest “presidential disaster declaration” areas may be eligible to receive disaster assistance in the form of a low-interest Physical Disaster Loan and Economic Injury Disaster Loan. These are available to businesses to repair or replace disaster-damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. Filing deadlines are Dec. 31 for physical property damage and July 31, 2013, for economic injury. Apply online via SBA’s electronic loan application at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
In a related move, SBA is holding a webinar on Tuesday, Nov. 13, at 2:00p.m. EST on preparing businesses for winter weather.
New York City’s Department of Small Business Services and the New York City Economic Development Corporation are coordinating programs to help small businesses recover, including low-interest loans (capped at $25,000); sales tax waivers for rebuilding materials and equipment; and free temporary space, supplies and services; .
In New Jersey, certain tax filing and payment deadlines have been extended to Nov. 7 for businesses disrupted by Sandy. A list of resources for business recovery assistance is available online through the New Jersey Business & Industry Association at www.njbia.org/hurricanesandy.aspx.
JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Bank of America waived fees incurred between Oct. 29 and Nov. 5, including overdraft protection transfer, extended overdraft, returned item and insufficient funds fees for deposit accounts, and late fees on credit cards and business loans. Chase announced up to $5 billion in incremental capital for lending to small and mid-size businesses directly affected by the storm. Loans are being offered with “favorable terms…including discounted fees and rates.”
Citi Wide Merchant Funding (Amityville, N.Y.) began processing Disaster Assistance Express Small Business Loans on Monday. Expressbusinessloans.com.
Citizens Bank (Providence R.I.) is offering Business Banking Emergency Flex Loans, up to $100,000 and terms up to 60 months; a six-month, zero percent credit card; and rebates on a range of credit card, ATM and overdraft fees upon request. Businesses can apply for these products by calling 1-888-610-7555.
Sovereign Bank is making available low-interest loans of up to $25,000, no principal repayments in the first three months and no origination fees.
Goldman Sachs, through its Urban Investment Group, is providing $5 million to small businesses matching New York City’s $5 million in Hurricane Sandy funding. The funds are available through New York Business Development Corporation.
The Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry monthly Power Breakfast Meeting on Nov. 15 will provide critical information, resources and post-storm recovery efforts and opportunities for small business owners. The meeting will be held at Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn, N.Y., at 10:00 a.m. R.S.V.P. to CACCI at 718-834-4544, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also in New York, the Mount Vernon Chamber of Commerce and the Roosevelt Square Professional Building joined forces to assist distressed small business owners, home-based businesses and entrepreneurs, offering them free temporary access to the Roosevelt Square building through Nov. 5. Access included complimentary wi-fi, power, fax, reception area, office spaces and meeting rooms. For more information, call 914-363-9299 or 914-413-9839, or email email@example.com.