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N.H. Banks Scramble To Process Loans For Businesses Hurt By Pandemic

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Banks in New Hampshire and across the country began getting busy Friday, as businesses harmed by COVID-19 are lining up for a share of $350 billion worth of new federal loans.

One challenge for lenders is late-breaking federal guidance on the loans program. Banks got the latest guidance on the SBA loans known as the Paycheck Protection Program on Thursday night. According to Kristy Merrill, president of the New Hampshire Bankers Association, that’s forcing lenders here to scramble.

“It really gives banks little time to have everything lined up perfectly and ready to go,” Merrill said. “This newest information, I think, is an improvement. It gives them a clearer picture of how to process things; by no means does it provide all of the answers.”

Businesses that get the loans, which are capped at $10 million dollars, can use them to pay for up to eight weeks of expenses, including payroll and rent. If businesses can preserve jobs for current employees through the end of June, the loans could be forgiven.

Josh has worked at NHPR since 2000.
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