WASHINGTON – United States Senator Mary Landrieu, D-La., Chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Ranking Member Olympia J. Snowe, R-Maine, today commented on the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) temporary emergency loan program to help small businesses that are having trouble repaying their debt because of the tough economy.

“Many Main Street businesses that have played by the rules are asking when Washington is going to help them, as they watch billions flow to the big banks and financial institutions,” Sen. Landrieu said. “Today’s announcement by the SBA to begin offering temporary loans to struggling entrepreneurs – with no interest, no fees and one year to start paying back the loan – will give small businesses the immediate help they need to keep their doors open. This program builds on other provisions in the Recovery Act that have already spurred about $3 billion in SBA lending to some 10,000 businesses since March.”

“I am pleased that Administrator Mills today announced the implementation of the America's Recovery Capital, or ARC, loan program,” said Ranking Member Snowe. “This initiative was crafted collectively, between the Senate and House Small Business Committees, to address the message we have heard from numerous businesses across the nation - that in all of our efforts to stabilize our economy, too little attention was being paid to our nation's small businesses in need of a precious lifeline. And that is what the ARC loan program is all about – providing that lifeline during these monumental times so that small businesses can keep their doors open.”

The America’s Recovery Capital (ARC) loans were created as part of the Recovery Act as interest-free, deferred-payment loans of up to $35,000 to help small businesses that have a good credit history but are struggling to make debt payments because of the economic recession. There are no fees associated with the loans, and they carry a 100 percent guarantee.

The SBA will begin offering ARC loans June 15 for up to six months. Small businesses that obtain an ARC loan will not need to begin payment until 12 months after the final disbursement, after which they will have up to five years to repay the loan.