After weeks of backlogs, the state’s Hospitality Emergency Loan Program (HELP) is helping more businesses.
HELP received 500 applications in its first six weeks, and faced a significant backlog because the Division of Small Business only had two underwriters to process them.
Since expanding to 10 underwriters, the department is going through applications from eligible restaurants and other hospitality and personal care businesses much more rapidly.
Division of Small Business Director Damian DeStefano explains how much progress has been made.
"I think we're close to about 50% processed and that's as new applications are coming in so we're up to about 600 applications now, and we've touched close to two-thirds of the applications which means they're back with the businesses for follow-up for additional information."
DeStefano says once they get caught up, the hope is to help other businesses.
"We're happy to see the backlog being reduced it's not completely gone once we do feel like we're processing at a speed that we want to be at with the current applicants we will look at expanding it to new industries because we know that the need is out there in sectors like consumer retail that have been hit pretty hard by this."
HELP provides no-interest loans capped at $10,000 per business per month, and the loans have a 10-year term with payments deferred for nine months. The money is for fixed costs like mortgages or leases and cannot be used for personnel costs.