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Small business owners encouraged to apply for stimulus loans

The Daily Times staff
New Mexico News

FARMINGTON — State economic development officials are encouraging small business owners who have suffered losses because of the coronavirus shutdown to apply quickly for loans that are available under the recently passed federal stimulus bill.

That measure, otherwise known as the CARES Act, sets aside $349 billion for loans to small businesses, according to a press release from the New Mexico Economic Development Department. The deadline for applying for a loan is June 30, and the money will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Alicia Keyes, secretary of economic development for the state, said the money will go quickly, and she encouraged merchants in the state to act soon if they are interested in securing a loan.

"Many businesses struggling through this crisis need a financial bridge to help them survive and recover once this crisis eases," she stated in the press release.

The stimulus bill includes two loan programs for small businesses — the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program and the Paycheck Protection Program. The former allows businesses to borrow up to $2 million with an immediate grant advance up to $10,000 that can be distributed in three days to a business.

Merchants can apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan through the U.S. Small Business Administration website at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. The SBA's Small Business Development Centers, of which there are 19 in New Mexico, also are accepting applications. Those centers offer instruction and guidance on how to apply for the loans. To find a center near you, visit nmsbdc.org.

Small business owners can borrow up to $10 million at a 1 percent interest rate under the Paycheck Protection Program, and the loan is deferrable for up to six months, the press release states. The SBA will forgive the loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks, and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest or utility payments.

The loans are only available through lenders. Visit sba.gov/paycheckprotection for more information.

The state Economic Development Department also has created loan-guarantee and no-interest loan programs for businesses, according to the press release. For more information about those programs, visit gonm.biz/.