In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Unity Bank will be offering its customers the Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program, a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.
SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the funds are used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. Business owners can apply for the PPP beginning Friday, April 3rd and loans will be available through June 30, 2020. For information on the loans and application forms please visit UnityBank.com or SBA.gov.
“The economic hardship businesses and their employees are facing is very real and our phone has been ringing off the hook with people who need help,” said Unity Bank President & CEO James A. Hughes. “Our customers have been contacting us for help ever since this crisis started and we have been working with them on a one-on-one basis to immediately defer their commitments. Now the PPP will program will bring added relief to eligible businesses because the government is taking the pressure off by essentially offering to pay their bills for six months.”
Thomas E. Lilley, Unity Bank Vice President/SBA Business Development Manager, said the bank will focus its PPP lending efforts on working with any Unity Bank customers who own businesses that can demonstrate economic hardships brought on by the crisis. Any Unity customers with consumer or business loans or simply bank accounts can email Lilley for assistance at Thomas.Lilley@UnityBank.com.
“These are businesses that, in many cases, have been devastated through no fault of their own and are in desperate need of help,” Lilley said. “They are doing the best they can to keep their businesses alive not only for themselves, but their employees as well. I encourage business owners to review the application with their accountant and start gathering the information the loan requires.”
PPP is designed for any small business with less than 500 employees, including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed persons, private non-profit organizations or 501(c)(19) veterans organizations affected by COVID-19. Businesses in certain industries may have more than 500 employees if they meet the SBA’s size standards for those industries. Business owners can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating.
Unity participates in the 7(a) Loan Program, SBA’s primary program to help start-up and existing small businesses obtain financing when they might not be eligible for business loans through normal lending channels. The bank also participates in the SBA 504 Loan program, an economic development program that offers small businesses long-term, fixed-rate financing used to acquire fixed assets for expansion or modernization.
The PPP loan will be fully forgiven if the funds are used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. At least 75% of the forgiven loan amount must have been used for payroll to meet requirements. Loan payments will also be deferred for six months. No collateral or personal guarantees are required. Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees.
Loan forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels. Forgiveness will be reduced if full-time headcount declines, or if salaries and wages decrease. The loan has a maturity of two years and an interest rate of .5%.