California OK’s fire disaster loan guarantees, microloans


The California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank’s (IBank) board of directors on Oct. 25 approved a new Disaster Relief Loan Guarantee Fund Program and an expanded microloan program to assist businesses affected by the wildfires in Sonoma County and other state declared disaster areas at Tuesday’s meeting in Sacramento.

Just days after the wildfires devastated areas of Sonoma County, the Sonoma County Economic Development Board (EDB) reached out to the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) to seek out financial assistance for county businesses impacted by the fires, according to Al Lerma, EDB director of business development and innovation.

GO-Biz Deputy Director and Small Business Advocate Jesse Torres contacted IBank Executive Director Teveia Brown who quickly moved to propose the creation of a Disaster Relief Loan Guarantee Program (DRLGP) and changes to the Jump Start microloan program to support the small businesses who suffered losses from the wildfires to real and personal property and who faced an uncertain future and financial calamity.

EDB’s Al Lerma thanked the IBank board of directors at the Oct. 25 meeting for their speedy actions to bring relief to Sonoma County businesses through the new finance programs, which went into effect immediately.

The IBank board approved up to $10 million for a Disaster Relief Loan Guarantee Program (DRLGP) at yesterday’s Board meeting. As a result the IBank will issue loan guarantees through its partner Financial Development Corporations to help small business borrowers in declared disaster and emergency areas who need term loans or lines of credit for working capital. Small businesses, including small farms, nurseries, agriculture-related enterprises and nonprofits that have suffered an economic loss and/or physical damage may apply. The DRLGP will help lenders and small businesses by providing loan guarantees of up to $1 million for disaster-relief borrowers with guarantees covering from 85 percent–95 percent of lender loans.

In addition, the IBank is offering microloans from $500 to $10,000 to businesses in declared disaster and emergency areas through its Jump Start Loan Program. IBank established the Jump Start Loan Program in 2016 as a small loan and financial literacy/technical assistance program designed for low-income small businesses in low-wealth communities, including businesses owned by women, minorities, veterans, people with disabilities and those previously incarcerated. Through yesterday’s actions by the IBank the Jump Start Loan Program is being expanded to include businesses located in state and/or federally declared disaster or emergency areas.

Access to IBank’s Disaster Relief Loan Guarantee Program and Jump Start Loan Program can be made through its partner financial development corporations.