Rutland County businesses hit by the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for an emergency loan from a local economic development group.

“It’s a new part of an existing program. It’s money that we borrow from the (United States Department of Agriculture) that we then lend out, we’ve had this program since the early ’90s,” said Tyler Richardson, executive director of Rutland Economic Development Corp.

REDC is authorized to lend out a total of $150,000 from its existing Revolving Loan Fund to businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, he said. The minimum a business can borrow is $5,000, the most is $50,000. The application is online at rutlandeconomy.com/COVID19.

“This particular emergency COVID program has allowed us, with authorization from the USDA, to lend out $150,000 at a lower interest rate than we normally would, with some conditions that include the first three months of payments are deferred, and then some of the underwriting protocols are loosened up a little bit so hopefully we can get the money out a little bit quicker, recognizing that’s probably going to be money for businesses that are under a hardship right now,” he said.

Under normal circumstances, the lowest interest rate the Revolving Loan fund could offer is 5.5%, but that’s been lowered to 4.25 %, said Richardson.

‘What we’re hearing from businesses is, there’s a gap in funding between now and when they’re going to be getting some of these relief packages from the CARES Act, whether it’s the (Payroll Protection Program) or the Economic Injury Disaster Loan from the Small Business Association,” he said.

Money REDC makes off the interest goes back into the fund, he said. This was the case before, as well.

Richardson said the application went online Tuesday, so no one has applied yet, but looking at similar efforts made by Rutland City and other places, he expects a high demand.

keith.whitcomb

@rutlandherald.com

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