It’s not just individuals that have been hit by the economic downturn of the COVID-19 crisis. Many of the country’s small businesses are in dire straits, and those in Alaska are no exception. Fortunately, entities looking to apply for a small business loan in Alaska now have several additional sources of support to draw on. On March 27, the government passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a $2 trillion stimulus package that, among other things, aims to relieve small businesses of some of the pressures of the current situation. If you’re a small business owner in Alaska, you may be eligible to claim support under one of the newly introduced programs from the Small Business Administration (SBA). Depending on your exact needs, you may qualify for one or both of the following initiatives:
- Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
- Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)
Paycheck Protection Program
If you’re struggling to cover the costs of your employee’s paychecks, the Paycheck Protection Program may be able to help. The program offers a 100 percent federally guaranteed loan to help employers cover payroll for existing staff. Certain eligibility requirements apply, but with attractive features such as forgiveness on up to 8 weeks of payroll, zero SBA fees, and up to a year’s worth of deferrals, it’s certainly an avenue worth exploring.
Who Can Apply For PPP?
If you are a small business owner or independent contractor in Alaska, you may be able to apply for a PPP if:
Your business has been, or will be, harmed by COVID-19 between February 15, 2020, and June 30, 2020.
You are a sole proprietor, an independent contractor or a self-employed person, a private non-profit organization or a 501 veterans organization.
You employ 500 workers or less (if you have more than 500 employees on your payroll, you may still qualify if your business falls into the SBA’s definition of a “small business” within the relevant sector. Check the SBA’s size tool to determine whether this applies to you).
What Is The Maximum Amount That Can Be Borrowed?
If you are deemed eligible for a PPP, your business could borrow 2.5 times your average monthly payroll costs, up to a maximum of $10 million in total and $100,000 a year for each covered employee. To establish how much your business may be eligible to receive, your lender will consider how long the business has been in operation, and whether you have already received an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). As a general rule, the following guidelines apply:
Businesses in operation between February 15, 2019 – June 30, 2019, will be eligible for a loan equal to 250 percent of its average monthly payroll costs during that same time.
Businesses not in operation between 15, 2019 – June 30, 2019, will be eligible for a loan equal to 250 percent of its average monthly payroll costs between January 1, 2020, and February 29, 2020.
What Does the Loan Cover?
The PPP may be used to:
- Cover the costs of payroll
- Cover the costs of continued group healthcare benefits for paid sick, medical & family leave
- Cover the costs of employee salaries
- Cover the cost of interest or mortgages or pre-existing debts
- Cover rent and utility costs
What Is The Application Process For PPP?
As per the current guidelines, small businesses and qualifying entities can apply for the program via:
- An existing SBA 7 lender
- A participating federally insured depository institution
- A participating federally insured credit union
- A participating Farm Credit System institution
In Alaska, lenders approved to participate in the program include:
- Denali State Bank
- First National Bank Alaska
- First Bank
- KeyBank, N.A.
- Live Oak Banking Co.
- Mt. Mckinley Mutual Savings Bank
- National Cooperative Bank
- Native American Bank
- Northrim Bank
- SeaCoast Commerce Bank
- United Midwest Savings Bank
- Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
- Certified Development Companies
- Evergreen Business Capital
- Non-Bank Lenders
- Alaska Growth Capital Bidco, Inc.
- Evergreen Business Capital
- Hana Small Business Lending
- NEWTEK Small Business Finance, Inc.
- Credit Unions
- ALPS Federal Credit Union
- Alaska USA Federal Credit Union
- Denali Federal Credit Union
- MAC Federal Credit Union
- Matanuska Valley Federal Credit Union
- Northwest Federal Credit Union
- Spirit of AK Federal Credit Union
- Tongass Federal Credit Union
- True North Federal Credit Union
As each lender is approved to provide different forms and levels of assistance, it’s worth consulting the State’s full list of lenders for details of what each body is approved to provide.
While the application process will vary according to the lender, the SBA has provided a PPP borrower application form that allows you to view the type of information that will be requested as part of the application. Once you have completed the form, contact your preferred lender for details on the next steps in the application process.
Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)
The Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) provides working capital loans of up to $2 million to support businesses who’ve suffered temporary revenue loss. As per the SBA guidelines, they are designed to cover expenses including payroll and operating expenses that could otherwise have been met had the crisis not occurred. Along with providing an immediate source of cash flow, the loans come with the possibility to defer principal and interest payments for up to 4 years.
Who Can Apply For An EIDL?
As the state website outlines, under the current terms of the scheme, entities eligible for an EIDL include:
- Small businesses (including sole proprietorships, with or without employees)
- Independent contractors
- Cooperatives and employee-owned businesses
- Private non-profits
- Tribal small businesses
- Regardless of entity type, all applicants must have 500 employees or less and have been in operation since January 31, 2020.
How to Apply For An EIDL
Application forms for small businesses and other eligible entities wishing to make use of the EIDL initiative are available on the SBA website. If you require any assistance in completing the application, it’s recommended you contact your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Women’s Business Center, or SCORE mentorship chapter. To find your nearest source of assistance, check the SBA's directory.
Written by Bill Vix
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