Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards is encouraging small business owners across the state to immediately apply for assistance with payroll, rent and other operational expenses through the federal Paycheck Protection Program, if they have not already done so. The federal loan program is being made available to them through their Louisiana based financial institutions. Simultaneously, Gov. Edwards says all Louisiana banks should continue pursuing access to those federal dollars and to be patient as the program moves forward. The Paycheck Protection Program is administered through the Small Business Administration (SBA) and is designed to help small businesses meet their operational needs during this coronavirus pandemic.

“The rollout out of the $349 billion through this program comes at a critical time for our state as we face this public health crisis, but it will not last long as businesses across the country will also apply, which is why our small businesses should not wait for the glitches in the system to be worked out before filling out their applications,” said Gov. Edwards. “Time is of the essence and the time to move is now.”

“This is a very difficult time for everyone and the impact of this virus is being felt in all segments of our society, but small businesses should know these funds are available today and Louisiana banks are positioned through the SBA to assist their customers during this crisis. That is why I am encouraging all bankers to have patience as the federal government works to expand the accessibility of the Paycheck Protection Program. I know our bankers have been working diligently to access those funds and make them available to their customers but, through no fault of their own, the process is taking some time. I understand their frustration but ask that they also understand this is a brand new program that is being implemented in the midst of a health crisis. We greatly appreciate the relief it will provide our small businesses that are the backbone of our economy. I know some of our small business owners were discouraged when all the answers were not immediately available but I ask you to not lose hope and continue moving forward to apply for these funds. I have every confidence that those funds will begin to flow as quickly as possible.”

The Paycheck Protection Program is offered through the SBA and provides a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on payroll. It will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest or utilities. Visit SBA.gov for more information. 

Earlier this week, Gov. Edwards announced additional help through a new Louisiana Loan Portfolio Guaranty Program, which will offer loans of up to $100,000 to Louisiana small businesses of fewer than 100 employees that are impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. To help Main Street and rural businesses sustain operations, the loans will require no payments and no will bear no interest for 180 days and carry below-market interest rates of no more than 3.5 percent. 

LPGP loans will provide up to $100,000 in immediate financing to help small firms impacted by COVID-19 meet their payroll, retain employees, pay their rent and mortgages, and keep their lights on and their doors open. Interested businesses may find loan details at OpportunityLouisiana.com/covid19, and a list of participating bankers will be posted at the site by Friday as banks complete their participation agreements. 

Click here for more details.