Numerous businesses were damaged in the region following 13 tornadoes that touched down on Memorial Day.
Photo: Staff photos
Photo: Staff photos

SBA loan deadline for businesses hit by tornadoes approaching: What you need to know

The deadline for area businesses and nonprofit organizations affected by the Memorial Day tornadoes to apply for Small Business Administration economic injury disaster loans is March 18.

An extended deadline for physical damage disaster loans already passed in September.

Low-interest loans of up to $2 million remain available to private nonprofits and businesses — even those whose buildings were not directly hit — to alleviate financial hardship stemming from the storm.

MORE: Tornado recovery resource guide

The loans are designed to meet the working capital needs of small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations, according to the SBA.

“If there was a business that was damaged economically, where they couldn’t get supplies of something for some reason, or a road was out or the electricity was out for a time and damaged their business that way, we also work with those loans as well,” said Rob Scott, the SBA’s regional administrator.

Businesses with less than 500 employees can apply for the SBA loans, which can also go toward a payroll shortfall resulting from the disaster, Scott said.

“If they had to put out money to pay employees yet weren’t making any money, we will step in and actually provide capital loans to use as a line of credit if they need it,” he said.

A record 16 tornadoes hit western Ohio on Memorial Day, including four that damaged Montgomery County. The most destructive, rated an EF4 by the National Weather Service, tore a swath from Brookville to Riverside.

About 9% of the more than 4,400 properties damaged by tornadoes in Montgomery County were commercial or industrial, according to auditor’s office data, but the businesses accounted for about 42% of property tax revenue losses, or $711,974. Nearly half of the 387 commercial properties affected were in Harrison Twp.

MORE: Thousands more denied than awarded FEMA grants

Interest rates on the economic injury loans are as low as 4% for businesses and 2.75% for nonprofits. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

Small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations in the following Ohio disaster-declared counties are eligible to apply: Auglaize, Darke, Greene, Hocking, Mahoning, Mercer, Miami, Montgomery, Muskingum, Perry, Pickaway.

The loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage, according to the SBA.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Walking the Path of the Storm

Eligible entities that suffered economic injury may also apply if in these adjacent counties: Allen, Athens, Butler, Champaign, Clark, Clinton, Coshocton, Fairfield, Fayette, Franklin, Guernsey, Hardin, Licking, Logan, Madison, Morgan, Noble, Preble, Ross, Shelby, Van Wert, Vinton and Warren in Ohio; and Adams, Jay, Randolph and Wayne in Indiana.

An SBA report from November showed 10 economic injury loans worth more than $400,000 were approved then; seven went to Montgomery County applicants.

New applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application via the SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoan.sba.gov.

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