How to Apply for a Small Business Loan in Georgia

Georgia

If you’re a small business owner in Georgia, it’s likely you’re feeling the pinch. COVID-19 has already had a devastating effect on the economy, and it’s far from over. While much of the news focus has been on escalating unemployment rates and the impact of the crisis on individuals, small businesses are suffering in equal measure, with many unable to keep up with standard operating costs or payroll. On March 27, the government rolled out the CARES Act, a $2 trillion stimulus package that, amongst other things, provides small businesses with the opportunity to apply for a small business loan, without the rigmaroles or bureaucratic red tape that usually applies. For small business owners in badly hit states like Georgia, the loans (which are available under either the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program) could be a lifeline.

What Is The Payment Protection Program?

As CBS notes, the Payment Protection Program authorizes the Small Business Administration (SBA) to offer 100% guarantees for up to $349 billion in loans to help small businesses experiencing a temporary loss in revenue as a result of COVID -19.

The loans are designed specifically to:

  • Cover payroll expenses
  • Cover continued group healthcare benefits for paid sick, medical & family leave
  • Cover employee salaries and compensation
  • Cover mortgage interest payments or pre-existing debts
  • Cover rent and utility costs

Who Can Apply?

  • If you’re a business owner in Georgia, you will be eligible to apply for a PPP loan under the condition:
  • The business has suffered a loss of revenue as a result of COVID-19 between February 15, 2020, and June 30, 2020, AND
  • The business employs 500 workers or less OR
  • The business employs more than 500 workers but is classified as a small business under the SBA Size Standards
  • You may also be eligible to apply if you are a sole proprietor (either with or without employees), an independent contractor or self-employed person, a private non-profit organization or a 501 veterans organization.

How Do I Apply for the PPP?

Although the SBA is responsible for administrating the program, you will need to apply via a participating lender. This includes participating:

  • Existing SBA 7 lenders
  • Federally insured depository institutions
  • Federally insured credit unions
  • Farm Credit System institutions
  • A full list of approved lenders in Georgia is available at sba.gov.

Once you have decided on your chosen lender, you will need to complete and submit the Paycheck Protection Program loan application form and provide the required accompanying documentation. This will include confirmation of:

  • Payroll
  • Tax records
  • Monthly rent and utilities
  • Health care benefits expenses

How Much Can I Borrow?

The amount of loan you may be eligible for depends on your existing payroll costs. The current maximum is set at $10 million, with loans set at 2.5 times your average monthly payroll costs, or up to $100,000 for each covered employee, whichever is less. Your lender will also consider your length of time in operation. If the business was in operation February 15, 2019 – June 30, 2019, the maximum loan amount will be set at 250 percent of your average monthly payroll costs during that same period. If the business began operating after June 30, 2019, the loan amount will be set at the average monthly payroll costs between January 1, 2020, and February 29, 2020.

What Else Do I Need to Know?

Before you make your application, it’s worth checking the fine print of the loan’s terms to be sure the program is suitable for your needs. A few points to be aware of include:

  • Loan forgiveness is available if at least 75% of the loan amount is used to cover payroll costs and retain employees who would otherwise be made unemployed.
  • All payments are deferred for 6 months from the loan origination date, with further deferral possible depending on the lender.
  • Interest is charged at a 1.00% fixed rate.
  • The loan is due within 2 years, with no prepayment penalties or fees.
  • What is the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program?

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program aims to provide a cash flow injection to businesses that’ve suffered a temporary loss in revenue as a result of COVID-19. The loan may be used to cover payroll and other operating expenses and includes a $10,000 forgivable advance.

Who Can Apply?

In order to be eligible for an EIDL, your business must qualify as a small business according to SBA definition standards. As Investopedia notes, this includes businesses that have a place of business in, and operate primarily out of, the US, is independently owned, is not dominant in its sector on a national basis, and either employs fewer than 500 employees or more than 500 but is still compliant with SBA Size Standards for small businesses.

How Do I Apply for the EIDL?

Small business owners in Georgia who wish to apply for an EIDL will need to do so directly at the SBA Website. According to the SBA, the streamlined application should take a maximum of two hours and ten minutes to complete. As part of the application, you will be asked to verify information relating to the business, owners, and any criminal history.

How Much Can I Borrow?

Loans are available up to a maximum of $2 million. If you wish, you can elect to receive an amount of the loan in the form of a forgivable grant (available up to $1000 per employee to a maximum of $10,000, paid within 3 days of your loan being approved).

What Else Do I Need to Know?

  • Interest is charged at 3.75%.
  • Loan terms are up to 30 years.
  • Payments can be deferred by one year but interest will accrue from the loan origination date.

Applications are currently on hold due to a lack of funds. If you’ve already submitted your application, you do not need to re-submit once further funds become available. Current applications will be treated on a first-come, first-served basis.


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