LACONIA — Millions of dollars in Small Business Administration financial support has begun to flow for Lakes Region businesses in a battle to survive the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Statewide, 4,400 businesses have been approved for forgivable loans through the Paycheck Protection Program established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said Monday. The loans total more than $1 billion in assistance to New Hampshire businesses.

Downtown restaurateur Reuben Bassett, one of many local business people who have applied for this assistance, said loans have been approved for Burrito Me, Local Eatery and Wayfarer Coffee Roasters. His bank told him the loans should be funded by the end of the week.

Bank of New Hampshire Executive Vice President Christopher J. Logan said Monday the bank has taken more than 500 applications for the loans since April 3, totaling $100 million.

“Ninety plus percent will be funded by Friday, April 24,” he said. “Funding has begun. Some people are receiving money today.

“Generally speaking, the bank is in great shape with plenty of liquidity and ability to fund this.”

A portion of the loan equivalent to two months payroll and expenses is forgivable.

Shaheen said the loans provide a financial lifeline to businesses.

“Many small businesses in New Hampshire might not last the week, much less the month, which is why getting resources Congress has provided to these businesses now is so critical,” she said.

Meanwhile, people across the country will begin receiving $1,200 stimulus checks this week, federal officials announced over the weekend.

Also, Richard Lavers, deputy commissioner of New Hampshire Employment Security, said people should begin receiving enhanced unemployment benefits as soon as this week. Under a federal program, unemployment checks are being boosted by $600 per week.

Another program to help businesses, Economic Injury Disaster Loans, has been slow to get untracked. Some lawmakers have said demand for the loans, which can include a $10,000 grant, has far outstripped available funding.

(1) comment

MNorris19

Don't believe it!! We applied a good month ago for all the loans and for the unemployment and received nothing!! We ended up setting up a GoFundMe fundraiser to help local businesses in the Ashland NH area because it is obvious at this point that help isn't coming from the government!

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