At a press conference Wednesday morning, Gov. Charlie Baker announced that another $2 million has been added to the emergency loan fund to help Merrimack Valley businesses hurt by the gas disaster.
The emergency loan fund was initially created with about $1 million from lending institutions in eastern Massachusetts. Any businesses affected by the disaster are eligible for loans from the fund.
"This emergency loan fund was deemed to be exactly the sort of thing people needed — a six-month, no-interest loan, relatively uncomplicated process that they could get through,'' Baker said Wednesday during a press conference at Yella Grille in Andover.
Baker said Mass Growth Capital Corporation and three lenders — Eastern Bank, Enterprise Bank and Reading Cooperative — returned to contribute to round two of the fund, with several other lenders joining them to provide a total of $2 million. Columbia Gas provided a $500,000 loan loss reserve for the fund, Baker said.
Lt. Governor Karyn Polito said the other lenders are Berkshire Bank, Northern Trust, People’s United Bank, Century Bank, East Boston Savings Bank, First Ipswich, Leader Bank, Lowell Five, North Shore Bank, Northmark Bank, South Shore Bank, and Wakefield Co-operative Bank.
"I am well aware of what was taken away from people in this community and more importantly the employees and owners as a result of this disaster," said Baker.
Baker also said that earlier this week, the federal Small Business Administration said it is willing to make loans of up to $2 million per loan, based on the amount of the economic losses involved, available with a 30-year term and interest rate as low as 3.675 percent.
The Small Business Administration is expected to open up an office in Lawrence by the end of the week, Baker said.
A complete report will appear in Thursday's print edition of The Eagle-Tribune and online at eagletribune.com. Watch the newspaper and our website for ongoing coverage of the gas disaster recovery effort.