GEDA offering local financial aid for businesses affected by COVID-19

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Melanie Mendiola, the administrator of the Guam Economic Development Authority, spoke about local COVID-19 financing options during the Rotary Club meeting today. (PNC photo by Kent Pueblo)

There are local options for small businesses trying to stay afloat in this bleak economic environment. Melanie Mendiola, the administrator of the Guam Economic Development Authority, spoke about some of those options at the Rotary Club meeting today.

The biggest pool of available funding is the $20 million in CARES Act money that Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero has provided to GEDA.

Mendiola said that more than 2,000 island businesses have already applied and more than $5 million has been lent out.

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“Right now, we are hovering around the $5.5 million mark as far as money that has been distributed. The money that has been distributed has been for businesses earning $1.5 million or below, regardless if they have received their EIDL or PPP. But we continue to have loans in process. As the applications in the process go through, we forecast that $1.5 and below we probably will dole out $12 million total and then the remainder will go to the larger businesses that are now eligible under the change that we made this week,” Mendiola said.

There are two other loan options offered by GEDA.

One is the ‘State Small Business Credit Initiative’ program. GEDA provides the guarantee on loans offered by Bank Pacific, Community First, and the Bank of Guam.

And the second option is the Guam Development Fund Act which provides loans of up to $1.2 million.

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“You go to these banks, you ask them for the SSBCI loan. And there is a six-month deferral on this particular loan. It’s up to $50,000 although there is some flexibility on the maximum amount. If you get turned down by a bank, you can also come directly to GEDA and apply for a GDFA loan, specific to the COVID pandemic. And it’s a very low-interest loan,” Mendiola said.

Mendiola also said that GEDA is working on a pandemic-specific Qualifying Certificate that would offer tax breaks to businesses who have suffered losses from the COVID-19 crisis.

She said she is working with Senator Clynt Ridgell on developing legislation to authorize that QC.

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