SBA Backs Loans for Md. Counties Hit by Floods

July 27, 2004

Responding to a request by Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich, Jr., the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has surveyed damage from July 12 & 13 floods in Cecil and Harford counties and has declared an “SBA Disaster” for those counties.

“I am very pleased by the rapid response of the SBA to my request to assist the residents of Cecil and Harford Counties,” said the Governor. “The availability of low interest loans will help to speed the economic recovery in the storm-damaged areas.”

The survey was conducted by federal, state and local officials. As a result of the survey, The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) determined that while major damage occurred to 25 homes, there were no widespread uninsured losses that met the criteria for assistance under the Robert T. Stafford Act.

The Stafford Act, which allows the federal government to provide assistance to state and local governments, requires documentation of widespread or catastrophic uninsured losses that would overwhelm the resources of state and local governments. MEMA determined that the documented damage did, however, meet the criteria for an SBA declaration and recommended that course of action to the Governor.

Under the declaration, the SBA is authorized to make low-interest, long-term disaster loans to homeowners, renters, and businesses of any size in a declared disaster area to repair or replace damaged real estate or personal property to its pre-disaster condition. Renters are eligible for loans to cover personal property losses.

Individuals may borrow up to $200,000 to repair or replace primary real estate and $40,000 to cover losses to personal property. Business physical disaster loans are available to repair or replace real property owned by the business, including real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, supplies and possible leasehold improvements.

The maximum maturity for such disaster loans is 30 years. However, the actual maturity of a loan is set depending upon the ability of the applicant to repay the loan. Interest rates can be as low as 2.875 percent for individuals and 2.75 percent for businesses.

An announcement will be made on the location of SBA established field offices in those counties.

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