Are you leaving money on the table?

If you are a small business owner in the Garden State who has not yet accessed funding still available from the Small Business Administration (SBA), you might be.

Under the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, the SBA offers direct relief to small businesses and nonprofit organizations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. These funds are not Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. That SBA program has expired.

But the EIDL program has not lapsed, not until the end of the month. So you still have time, and after that, maybe even a little bit more. The SBA recently announced that EIDL loans would continue to be processed even after its Dec. 31 deadline until all funds are exhausted.

How much funding is still available? Billions of dollars, according to Patrick Kelley, associate administrator for SBA’s Office of Capital Access.

So, if you’re a small business still in need of capital, tapping the EIDL program might be the way to go. Consider the following three reasons.

It’s easier to borrow more

Recent changes to the program allow borrowers to take out loans up to $2 million (with collateral and personal guarantees required). The loans can be used to pay for any operating expenses and working capital. Examples include payroll, rent or mortgage, utilities, equipment and other ordinary business expenses, plus paying off debt.

Equally important: If your business has previously received funding through the PPP, the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) or the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG), you still stand to benefit from the EIDL program.

Attactive rates, long-term options

Unlike most PPP loans, EIDL loans must be repaid and are not forgivable. But the interest rates are quite compelling compared to other forms of capital.

For businesses, the rate is 3.75%. For nonprofits, it’s 2.75%. Both are fixed. Given recent headlines that the Federal Reserve is prepared to raise interest rates to counter inflation, these fixed rates look like even more attractive forms of capital.

What’s more, EIDL loans are long term. Their maturity is 30 years, with payments deferred for the first two years. Afterward, payments of principal and interest are made over the remaining 28 years of the loan, with no penalty for prepayment.

These advantages make EIDL loans a more attractive form of capital for small businesses compared to other alternatives.

‘Advances’ without repayment

The EIDL program also offers two types of “advances” that do not have to be repaid. Instead, they act as a grant. Your eligibility depends on your company size, location and amount of revenue your business lost.

The Targeted EIDL Advance, for instance, is available for businesses in low-income communities with 300 or fewer employees. And you must show that your business suffered more than a 30% reduction in revenue. If your company can check off all three boxes, you might be eligible for up to $10,000.

Additionally, there is the Supplemental Targeted Advance. Like the Targeted EIDL Advance, you must be in a low-income area. But there are two key differences: you must have 10 or fewer employees, and you must prove that you sustained a reduction in revenue more significant than 50%. If so, you are eligible for an additional $5,000, for a total of $15,000, none of which needs to be repaid.

While forgivable loan programs are winding down, there are still plenty of attractive programs available for small companies in need of growth capital. After sustaining “key enhancements” to help down-on-their-luck businesses get back on track, the EIDL program is one of them.

If you’re one of them, this program is worth a closer look.

Patrick L. Ryan is the president and CEO at Hamilton-based First Bank.

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