By Maurice Pinzon
In an effort to provide a slightly better economic buffer to small businesses hit by the blackout in Northwest Queens last month, the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) has dropped the interest rate on the emergency loans it is offering to zero percent.
In Astoria, on the corner of Ditmars Boulevard and 31st Street, the SBS and Seedco, a financial services organization, worked out of space provided by Commerce Bank to assist small businesses owners in obtaining information and completing loan paperwork.
According to SBS spokesman David Garlick, 200 small businesses owners have visited the Astoria office alone. As of yesterday, Mr. Garlick said that 119 loan applications had been processed, 103 loan packages had been accepted, and 76 checks had already been issued.
The emergency loans originally announced on July 26 by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg were at that time offered with interest rates of 1 percent to 2 percent, depending on the repayment method.
With the loans now interest-free, SBS workers are paying small businesses in the affected communities another round of visits to encourage owners who may need the emergency loans to apply for them. Loans of up to $10,000 are available, but only for business purposes.
For details about the emergency loan program visit: Emergency Loan Program