Lenders offer options for businesses impacted by COVID-19

Disaster loans, payment deferments and lines of credit are available for local businesses

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The Douglas County Revolving Loan fund is lending a hand to businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Monday, March 24, the fund's board of directors approved 90-day extensions on existing loans and making lines of credit available to businesses affected by the effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus in Wisconsin.

The lines of credit will help businesses with short-term loans after nonessential businesses were ordered to close for the next month under the Safer at Home order signed by Gov. Tony Evers on March 25.

Lines of credit will range from $5,000 to $25,000, and businesses that need capital can apply at , said Jim Caesar, executive director of the Development Association, which manages the fund. The application includes a checklist of things officials will need to know when considering the application, Caesar said.

The Douglas County Revolving Loan Fund Board would have to approve requests from businesses that need more than $25,000 in working capital.


Since 1986, the Douglas County Revolving Loan Fund has loaned or granted more than $4.5 million to over 64 businesses or organizations. It provides gap and incentive financing and equity enhancement for industrial projects.

For businesses that still have loans through the revolving fund, the board of directors decided to defer payments for 90 days without making special requests. The payments would be caught up at the end of the loan.

Douglas County Treasurer Carol Jones said it would be cleaner that way, and if businesses are able and want to continue making their payments over the next 90 days, they can.

National Bank of Commerce has been reaching out its commercial customers to determine how the measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus are affecting businesses, their employees and cash flow, and what it’s going to take to get them going again, according to NBC president and CEO Steve Burgess.

He said the bank is working on developing some stop-gap measures. He said the bank and waiting to see what the federal government is going to do, but in the meantime, the bank is working with its customers to offer interest-only repayment options and extend cash flow through increased lines of credit.

“It’s going to take a lot of cash to get going again because inventories will be depleted,” Burgess said. He recommended business owners affected take a look at their cash flow for the 90- to 120-days and develop a plan and a contingency plan and be open about it.

And he encouraged employers to stay in touch with their employees in this high-stress environment.

Businesses in Wisconsin and Minnesota could also be eligible for disaster assistance funds through the Small Business Administration if they face substantial economic injury related to COVID-19. Businesses can apply for loans up to $2 million and are repayable with terms up to 30 years.


The loans can be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred, according to the Small Business Development Center at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

For information, call 800-659-2955 or email .

This story was updated at 11:26 a.m. March 31 to correct the Douglas County panel that would approve lines of credit greater than $25,000 for the revolving loan fund. It was originally posted at 5:15 p.m. March 27.

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