SBA deadline nearing

Published 12:32 am Thursday, November 17, 2011

The deadline for victims of Hurricane Irene to apply for federal disaster loans is Nov. 30.

With that date in mind, officials with the U.S. Small Business Administration are urging residents who haven’t done so to complete and turn in their SBA loan applications prior to the last day of the month.

Applicants may call SBA at 1-800-659-2955 or visit, said Richard Daigle, a public-affairs specialist with the agency.

“We want to encourage people to apply as soon as possible,” Daigle said. “The sooner they apply, the sooner we can give them help.”

Storm victims who wish to make in-person inquiries with SBA officials have until the close of business Friday to do so.

The local, temporary SBA loan office is located next to the Mid-Atlantic Safety Council building, 2871 U.S. Highway 17 South, Chocowinity.

This office, along with all other temporary SBA offices in the state, closes Friday, Daigle related.

The local office’s hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Friday.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency offered grants for immediate assistance in the wake of Irene, Daigle pointed out.

SBA’s role is to offer low-interest loans, he said.

The federal entity has disaster loans available at 2.5-percent interest rates for renters and homeowners, and at 4-percent rates for business owners, he said.

The loans may be payable over 30-year periods.

A homeowner may borrow up to $200,000 to repair his or her home, and up to $40,000 to replace personal content, including appliances and automobiles.

A renter also may borrow up to $40,000.

A business may borrow up to $2 million.

Loans are available for costs not covered by renters, homeowners or business insurance.

And people shouldn’t wait to see how much their insurance will cover before applying for these loans, Daigle cautioned. Insurance payouts may be used to cover loan payments, and designated recipients don’t have to accept the loans once they’re approved, he said.

The SBA gives direct federal loans — the money doesn’t come from a bank, Daigle explained.

The agency has staff available to help with loan applications, he said.

“It’s not burdensome,” Daigle stated.

SBA has issued more than $34 million in loans in North Carolina since Irene passed through the east, according to Daigle.

The storm displaced hundreds of Beaufort County people as it moved over the region Aug. 27, causing severe damage to dozens of structures and destroying others with its tides and winds.