The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

June 17, 2009

Area small businesses may qualify for loans

Businesses in Athens, Limestone County and other parts of North Alabama can apply for interest-free loans of $35,000 to pay down business debts.

Congressman Parker Griffith, D-Alabama, said the new program — America’s Recovery Capital — allows borrowers to pay no interest on the ARC loans and wait one year before beginning repayment.

The program was created under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

“North Alabama small business has always served as the backbone of our regional economy,” Griffith said. “When we help them to get back on their feet, we set the wheels in motion toward economic recovery for our entire nation.”

Loans will be made by commercial lenders and can be used for payments of principal and interest for existing, qualifying small business debts such as credit obligations, vendor invoices, mortgages and utilities, he said.

To apply for ARC loans, visit a local business lender approved by the Small Business Administration.

The loans will be available through Sept. 30, 2010, or until appropriated funding runs out, Griffith said.

For more information, go online to:

“We must always support the needs of small business owners and ensure they have the resources they need to prosper,” Griffith said. “This program lets small business owners stay above water as they pay operating expenses, make payroll, retain employees and continue their work as job creators.”