Small businesses and nonprofits across 15 southern states can now get low-interest loans of up to $100,000 and free business support from the Southern Opportunity and Resilience (SOAR) Fund as they work to rebuild from the pandemic.
To be eligible for a SOAR Fund loan, a small business must meet the requirements detailed below. Please note that the pre-application should be completed and submitted by the owner of the business with the largest ownership interest, and that all owners with more than 20% ownership will be required to attest to the information provided.
The following criteria is the minimum required for a business or non-profit to be considered eligible for a loan under this program:
- The business or non-profit must employ 50 or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employees
- The business or non-profit must have suffered a direct economic disruption as a result of COVID-19 in a way that has materially impacted operations
- The business or non-profit must have been in operation since at least September 2019, unless the business is a for-profit business and meets one of the following additional criteria:
- The business can demonstrate three or more years of operating experience in the industry through previous ownership or management; or
- The business has previously borrowed from the community lender and has had no repayment issues
The community lender will collect financial information from each business or non-profit and its beneficial owner(s) and/or guarantor(s) and underwrite based upon the lender’s credit criteria, which vary based on lender. Lender credit criteria often includes but may not be limited to:
- The business or non-profit’s (or its guarantor) ability to pay back the loan in full
- The ability to make debt payments from revenues
- The business or non-profit’s (or its guarantor) history of bankruptcy, delinquency, foreclosure or repossession
- Whether there are any outstanding tax liens or judgments against the business or non-profit, and/or its guarantor(s) or beneficial owner(s)
There is no minimum credit score that is required under this program, but please note that each community lender may set its own credit score limits for the loan applications it reviews.
Maximum Loan Amount
The maximum available loan amount is $100,000 or up to 100% of your business’ revenues for any three month period prior to the COVID pandemic outbreak (in 2019 or first quarter of 2020) whichever is less. The maximum loan amount available under this program is $100,000.
The current fixed annual interest rate for loans issued under the program are:
- 4.00% for for-profit businesses and 3.00% for non-profit organizations for a 60-month term
- 4.50% for for-profit businesses and 3.50% for non-profit organizations for a 72-month term
Any updates to the rate will be communicated through this website.
There is a loan origination fee that is up to the greater of (1) 4% of principal or (2) a $1,000 minimum fee. Lenders also may include minimal third-party fees which may be added to the loan balance to cover costs associated with the loan, such as UCC filing fees or wiring fees, for example. All expenses related to this loan will be clearly disclosed by the community lender prior to origination.
Please note that a late fee may be assessed by the lender if the borrower does not make a loan payment on time. You will be shown any fees associated with the loan prior to your acceptance of any loan terms.
5 years (60 months) or 6 years (72 months)
There are two different types of loans offered under this program: one with a 60-month repayment schedule and the other with a 72-month repayment schedule. Your eligibility will depend on your financial qualifications, which will be determined by the lender, and the availability of the types of loans at the time of your application.
Both loans include a one-year interest only period. For the first 12 months of the loan you will be making monthly payments only on the interest charged on the loan. For the remaining loan term your monthly payments will include principal and interest payments.
A borrower may prepay the loan, in whole or in part, at any time without penalty.
Proceeds can be used for working capital, inventory, marketing, refitting for new social distancing guidelines, operating and emergency maintenance, property taxes, utilities, rent, supplies, and other appropriate business purposes.
The loan applicant will be required to detail the proposed use of loan proceeds when they apply.
Security and Guarantees
No specific collateral is required to be eligible (e.g., you do not need to have access to any specific real estate or equipment). A blanket first or second lien may be filed on business assets, at the discretion of the originating CDFI. Personal guarantees will be required for individuals who own 20% or more of a business.
Businesses that are NOT eligible include, but are not limited to:
- Firms engaged in activities that are prohibited by federal law or applicable law in the jurisdiction where the business is located or conducted
- Corporate-owned franchises
- Branch banks
- Pay day loan stores
- Pawn shops
- Astrology, palm reading
- Adult bookstores, strip clubs
- Track waging facilities
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