As the country continues to transition from a historic economic recovery to stable, steady growth that works for families and small businesses, Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, the voice for America’s 32.5 million small businesses in President Biden’s Cabinet, highlighted the impact of the SBA’s COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). Through the life of the program, the SBA disbursed approximately $390 billion to nearly four million small businesses and nonprofits.
Taken together with the American Rescue Plan-funded programs – the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, the COVID EIDL Targeted and Supplemental Advance Grants, and the Paycheck Protection Program — COVID EIDL, which was often used for critical business operations such as making payroll, has helped small businesses power historic economic growth. In the first three quarters of 2021, small businesses with fewer than 50 employees created 1.9 million jobs, the fastest nine-month start in any year on record. This historic level of investment in saving our small business economy has resulted in high marks of trust in the SBA among the American public.
“The SBA has delivered historic economic relief to millions of America’s small businesses through the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan program,” said Administrator Guzman. “President Biden believes we can deliver government services and ensure critical relief gets into the hands of those who need it the most with equity, speed, and certainty. We delivered on his vision by revamping the COVID EIDL program to expand the delivery of low-interest, flexible loans to meet the continued needs of small businesses for financial relief so they could recover. At the same time, we enhanced anti-fraud measures to protect taxpayer dollars and ensure that funds benefited those Congress intended to help. Nearly 90 percent of loans went to small businesses with 10 employees or less, which tend to include the hardest-hit and most underserved populations. The hardworking team members of the SBA and the Biden-Harris Administration will continue to use every tool at their disposal to support small business owners.”
Helping Hard-Hit Small Businesses Survive and Thrive
Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Administrator Guzman has made it her top priority to deliver relief quickly and equitably, make COVID EIDL more flexible, and streamline the application process. At the same time, the fraud controls introduced under Administrator Guzman’s leadership have ensured the SBA can fight fraud by identifying and mitigating fraud risks.
Under Administrator Guzman’s leadership, the SBA:
- Eliminated an Over One Million Applicant Backlog. Eliminating a one million+ applicant backlog and reducing application processing to an average of two-three weeks which is faster than industry timeframes.
- Instituted Changes to Increase Loan Processing Volumes. Under streamlined processes, the SBA processed $1 billion of relief to 50,000 small business owners per day at peak stages, dwarfing the processing volumes of the world’s largest financial institutions.
- Established a 30-Day Exclusivity Window. To ensure the smallest of businesses had additional time to access these funds, the SBA implemented a 30-day exclusivity window for approving and disbursing funds for loans of $500,000 or less, after the cap was increased to $2 million.
- Increased the COVID EIDL Cap. The SBA lifted the COVID EIDL loan cap to $2 million for eligible applicants. Loan funds can be used for any normal operating expenses and working capital, including payroll, purchasing equipment, and making debt payments.
- Implemented Deferred Payment Periods. To assist small businesses struggling to make ends meet, the SBA established extended deferred payment periods so small business owners will not have to begin COVID EIDL repayment until 30 months after loan origination.
- Expanded Eligible Use of Funds. Recognizing the importance of capital flexibility, the SBA made COVID EIDL funds eligible to prepay commercial debt and for payments on federal business debt.
- Instituted Industry Best Practices to Reduce Fraud. To ensure federal relief dollars reached the small businesses Congress intended to help, the SBA instituted anti-fraud measures, including IRS verified tax returns and checking Treasury’s Do Not Pay List. Staff review of loans flagged for possible fraud has protected taxpayer dollars and led to the referral of suspected fraud to federal law enforcement authorities.
The SBA remains committed to increasing capital for small businesses, including those in underserved communities. Small business owners still seeking assistance can participate in the Community Advantage loan-guarantee program, the 7(a) and 504 loan programs, or connect with their local SBA field office to get connected to an SBA lender that can best meet their capital needs and/or a Community Navigator to get connected to additional small business resources.
Find additional information on SBA funding opportunities here.