Recovery Loan Bids Flood New Orleans CDCU
NEW ORLEANS – ASI FCU was deluged Wednesday with applications for loans and grants being distributed under a new state program to help small businesses damaged by Hurricane Katrina. The community development credit union, which is teaming up with nearby Mary Queen of Vietnam FCU, is one of just a handful of financial institutions approved as intermediaries for the Louisiana Business Recovery Grant and Loan Program. “We had requests for as many as 300 applications on the first day,” Sarah Taylor, senior vice president of the $240 million CDCU, told The Credit Union Journal. ASI/Mary Queen of Vietnam will serve as financial intermediary and administrator of loans to be distributed in the a $138 million initiative, which will include $38 million in grants and $100 million in no-interest loans. ASI, which has been central in the rebuilding of the Crescent City, will screen applications for local businesses and then administer the funds being provided by the state. To qualify for the funds, a business must have fewer than 50 employees, has to show that it lost 30% of its revenues since before the storm, and has reopened or plans to reopen, said Taylor. Applications will be accepted for the rebuilding funds at ASI and other participants in the loan program between Jan. 23 and Feb. 16. ASI is the only credit union participating. Unveiling of the new loan program came as ASI was being granted $300,000 from NeighborWorks America, a quasi-government housing agency, to help rebuild a block in the city’s heavily damaged upper Ninth Ward with new modular housing.