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SBA approves disaster loans for businesses, residents affected by flooding

Wisconsin and Minnesota residents and businesses affected by severe storms and flooding June 19-20 can apply for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration, SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills announced Monday.

Mills made the loans available in response to a letter from Gov. Scott Walker on July 19, requesting a disaster declaration by the SBA. The declaration covers Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Sawyer and Washburn counties in Wisconsin and Carlton, Pine and St. Louis counties in Minnesota.

"The SBA is strongly committed to providing the people of Wisconsin the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes with federal disaster loans," said Mills. "Getting businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at SBA."

Loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate; homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property, said Frank Skaggs, director of SBA's Field Operations Center East in Atlanta. SBA's customer service representatives are on hand at the Disaster Loan Outreach Center to answer questions about the disaster loan program, explain the process, issue and help individuals complete their applications.

The center is located in the Superior Business Center Inc., 1423 N. Eighth St., Superior. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 weekdays July 31-Aug 9, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 4. The office closes at the end of the day Aug. 9

Businesses and non-profit organizations of any size may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets, said Eric Ness, SBA's Wisconsin district director.

The SRA may increase a loan up to 20 percent of the total amount of disaster damage to real estate and for leasehold improvements, as verified by SBA to make improvements that lessen the risk of property damage by future disasters of the same kind.

For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small aquaculture businesses and most private nonprofit organizations, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. The assistance is available whether the business suffered any physical property damage.

Interest rates are as low as 1.938 percent for homeowners and renters, 3 percent for nonprofit organizations and 4 percent for businesses with terms up to 30 years.

Loan amounts and terms are set by the SRA and are based on each applicant's financial condition.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application via SBA's secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

Individuals and businesses unable to visit the center in person may also obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA's Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or (800) 877-8339 for the

deaf and hard-of-hearing, or send an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Loan applications can also be downloaded from www.sba.gov.

Completed applications should be returned to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

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