Stimulating discussion

jon_mohr2With the news this week that the U.S. Small Business Administration will begin an interest-free loan program that provides up to $35,000 for small businesses facing immediate financial hardship, the federal government has taken a step that could offer immediate assistance to many marine businesses around the country. But will it help you, or any of the businesses you know? And, with the billions being spent on economic recovery, have you seen any of the benefits at your company, or in your area?

Obviously, the economic stimulus is still a work in progress and nobody is expecting a quick turnaround from the crisis we’ve been facing. But there are those who believe a corner has been turned, that the economy’s slide seems to be halting and, if we’re not yet on the road to recovery, we can see it up ahead.

We would like to hear your thoughts.

The money spent to try and bailout the financial system was meant to, first, save many of the companies that make up that system from insolvency, but also to try and jumpstart lending and unfreeze the credit markets. Are financial institutions lending in your area? Have you been able to get the loans you need to operate, and can your customers get the loans they need to buy from you?

The money spent on programs such as Making Home Affordable, which helps at-risk homeowners modify their mortgages to avoid foreclosure, was meant to bolster the housing market and give consumers the confidence to start spending again. Tax cuts were supposed to provide them the money to do so. Have you seen a change in sales at your company?

The money that will be spent on the SBA’s America’s Recovery Capital Loan Program seeks to provide “… an immediate infusion of capital to small businesses to assist with making payments of principal and interest on existing debt,” the SBA writes in describing the program on its Web site. “Making loan payments on existing loans with proceeds from an ARC loan can allow a business to focus more funds on core operations, such as buying inventory or making payroll.”

The SBA says the loans are interest-free to the borrower, carry a 100-percent guaranty from the SBA to the lender, and require no fees paid to SBA. Loan proceeds are provided over a six-month period and repayment of the ARC loan principal is deferred for 12 months after the last disbursement of the proceeds. Repayment can extend up to five years.

What are your thoughts on this and on the other economic stimulus programs? It often seems, when you hear about new government programs, that the money is being spent to help someone else. We would like to hear how these programs are impacting you and yours, or, if they haven’t yet, do you believe they will? Please share your thoughts and experiences below.

To learn more about the ARC program, go to or call 866-947-8081 if you would like to speak to a customer service representative.

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