City officials promise swift action on small business loans

More than 300 small business owners have expressed interest in a $ 100 million loan fund, and city officials said on Friday they would start handing out money in early April.

Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund to Issue Low Interest Loans up to $ 50,000 to employers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The loans are designed to help businesses have cash for rent and payroll and are part of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s general economic assistance program, which includes extending the payment due date until April 30. corporate-related taxes.

The fund will begin accepting applications on March 31 and begin approvals within days, officials said. “We will get the money out quickly,” said Samir Mayekar, deputy mayor responsible for economic development.

Officials cited a JPMorgan Chase study showing that an average small business in Chicago only has 28 days of cash. Government-ordered shutdowns in Illinois and Chicago, resulting in a shelter-in-place order on Friday, caused an instant cut-off in income for many businesses.

City officials said in a poor community like Englewood, small businesses often have enough money to haul them for just a few days.

Eligible loan recipients must have fewer than 50 employees. Jennie Huang Bennett, the city’s chief financial officer, said the terms of the loan were being finalized. Interest rates, she said, “will be below market conditions.”

The fund represents a reappropriation of $ 50 million from the Chicago Community Catalyst Fund, which was started by former city treasurer Kurt Summers Jr. but has been inactive. Chaired by current Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin, the fund will be administered by registered community development finance institutions which will provide application selection, credit underwriting, loan disbursements and service.

Recipients must show a drop in income of at least 25% attributable to the pandemic. While strict standards will apply, officials have promised the application process will be streamlined.

Other sources of funding for the effort include $ 25 million from the city of Chicago, $ 10 million from urban investment group Goldman Sachs, $ 1 million from Fifth Third, $ 250,000 from Clayco and $ 15 million. dollars from additional private funding sources.

Mayekar said the amount available for loans is expected to increase as other donors have said they want to help.

Those interested in receiving information and a loan application are requested to complete a form at the address

Business taxes deferred until April 30 include those levied for bottled water, checkout bags, entertainment, hotel accommodations, restaurants and parking.

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