Three mission-driven nonprofit lenders in Maine rolled out new borrowing programs Monday backed by U.S. Small Business Administration funds.

Aimed at helping Maine businesses recover and rebuild from the economic shock of the COVID-19 pandemic, loans of up to $50,000 are available through Coastal Enterprises Inc., better known as CEI, Community Concepts Finance Corp. and MaineStream Finance.

All three organizations work with entrepreneurs of limited income or wealth. Borrowers also have access to business advice and technical assistance.

The recovery loans can be for working capital or to meet normal operating expenses and are available until Sept. 27 or while funds last. The SBA generally covers the first six months of payments and interest, and the loans have no prepayment penalty.

Daniel Wallace, director of lending for CEI, said the new loan packages are coming available at a time when federal Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, and Economic Injury Disaster Loan, or EIDL, resources are drying up.

“We do think this will help folks weather the next few months as we slowly phase in reopening,” Wallace said.

Although any business may apply for the loans, Wallace said CEI and other Community Development Financial Institutions have certain criteria that must be met in addition to normal underwriting and credit analysis. Being environmentally friendly and sustainable, providing good jobs and an opportunity for low-income workers, and treating employees well all factor in to the decision.

Jennifer Sporzynski, senior vice president of business and workforce development at CEI, noted that the economic injury funds are currently available only for agricultural businesses, and the paycheck protection money is targeted specifically to helping small businesses cover payroll.

“We actually think this product, because you can use it for working capital, can complement the PPP,” she said. “If you received PPP money, we’re not prohibiting you to access this loan.”

Separate terms and conditions apply to each organization. Brunswick-based CEI is offering a three-year “Wicked Reboot” loan of up to $30,000 with 3 percent interest and no prepayment penalty. An extended-term loan of up to $50,000 is also available.

Community Concepts, based in South Paris, is offering “COVID-19 Assistance” loans of up to $50,000 with a payback period of as long as six years with interest rates as low as 3 percent.

MaineStream, based in Bangor, is offering a “Business Booster” two-year loan of up to $10,000 for working capital and operating expenses with flexible payment arrangements.

Decisions on completed applications will be made within two weeks of submission. Wallace and Sporzynski said they know some small business owners are wary of taking on more debt, and unlike the PPP’s forgivable loans, the recovery offerings must be paid back.

“We want people to be mindful that is is a loan,” Sporzynski said.

Businesses interested in a recovery loan should contact the offering organization directly for full product details and underwriting requirements, the lenders said. Completed applications will be reviewed in the order of submission, with decisions made within a two-week period.


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