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Government Relations & Public Policy

SBA announces improvements to COVID loan program

September 17, 2021

The U.S. Small Business Administration has announced major enhancements to the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program to ease the application process and improve utilization of this important liquidity tool for COVID-impacted small businesses. ICSC has consulted with the SBA during their review process to help provide insight into the ongoing needs of small businesses located in community marketplaces.

Unlike the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the EIDL program is a low interest loan program administered directly by the SBA. Although it is does not come with the same potential of loan forgiveness as the PPP,  the new terms of the EIDL program will allow small businesses to access up to $2 million in funds for normal operating expenses and working capital, including rent, payroll and equipment. It is especially important to note that COVID EIDL funds are eligible to prepay commercial debt and make payments on other federal business debt. This means that a small business owner can use EIDL proceeds to pay down more expensive credit card debt. EIDL borrowers will not have to begin repayment on the COVID EIDL loans until two years after loan origination.  

In order to address concerns about the length of approval and disbursement of EIDL, the SBA will speed-up the loan origination process, implementing a 30-day exclusivity window for approving and disbursing funds for loans of $500,000 or less. Approval and disbursement of loans over $500,000 will begin after the 30-day period.

On September 28 ICSC will hold a webinar with ICSC President & CEO Tom McGee and U.S. Small Business Administration’s Senior Advisor, Office of Field Operations, Anna Maria Lucas to further discuss the improvements to the COVID EIDL program and ways that ICSC members can help share the news about this program with eligible small business borrowers. Click here for more information and to register for this event.