Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Katrina disaster continues to unfold

UNO Chancellor and economist Timothy Ryan is predicting that, unless assistance is extended to keep businesses afloat, 90,000 of 115,000 businesses in Orleans parish will fail by January. Ryan's prediction was reported today by WWL announcer Garland Robinette.

In interviews with Robinette in recent days, business owners have complained about the snail's pace of the Small Business Administration in getting disaster loans processed so owners can repair damages and, most importantly, make their payrolls, in a city that is now vastly underpopulated. The SBA has managed to approve only 840 of 28,000 business loan applications.

Even if the loans were processed faster, at least one business owner complained that he's "already mortgaged to the hilt." Business owners don't need loans. They need grants.

Garland Robinette's show can be heard on WWL 870 AM, 2-5 PM. By the way, when I was evacuated to Pensacola, I discovered to my surprise that I could pick up the signal there (although degraded). WWL can also be heard online.

11/11/05 update:

In a WWL interview this morning, La. Representative Bobby Jindahl repeated business complaints that the SBA is saying it might take 60-90 days to process disaster loan applications. If businesses can last 90 days, they probably don't need a loan. Jindahl announced a new change in SBA policy. SBA loans will now be offered by commercial banks. This offers the advantages of faster processing, and familiarity - most business owners already have a relationship with a loan officer in a bank who knows their business and their needs.


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