The Economic Development Bank (EDB), an entity of the Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority (VIEDA), is the sixth lending institution in the U.S. Virgin Islands authorized to participate in distributing loans to small businesses from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which is a program under the U.S. Small Business Administration (US SBA). This announcement was made during the public session of the VIEDA Governing Board Decision Meeting on June 9.
The EDB joins five other USVI banks as a US SBA lender partner under this program to assist local small businesses affected by the global impact of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19): Bank of St. Croix, Merchants Commercial Bank, Oriental Bank, First Bank and Banco Popular de Puerto Rico. Small businesses can apply for the PPP through the EDB at www.usvieda.org/ppp
Small businesses may also contact their own lending institutions to apply for the PPP.
According to the SBA, the PPP is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. The SBA will forgive loans if employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest or utilities. VIEDA’s Acting CEO Wayne L. Biggs Jr. shares his agreement with the EDB’s involvement to assist in this program.
“In 2019, the VIEDA and the SBA signed a strategic alliance memorandum outlining a protocol of how both of our organizations can work and collaborate together to provide information about their resources with USVI small businesses,” said Biggs Jr. “This reauthorization of the EDB as an SBA lender is a significant part of that ongoing alliance. As we work together to assist our local small businesses during this global pandemic, our small-business community and USVI economy can only become more resilient after this crisis.”
Wayne Huddleston, the U.S. Small Business Administration senior area manager for the USVI, who is an essential partner in helping all small businesses in the territory, looks forward to working in partnership with the EDB.
“The SBA and I appreciate the support from the VIEDA team in this endeavor,” said Huddleston. “We are especially thankful to the VIEDA for its assistance in publicizing both the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL) and PPP in the territory through their marketing and public relations efforts with news releases, webinars, radio announcements, etc., to inform our small-business owners that help is available.”
The PPP was established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was passed by Congress in March 2020. The PPP is implemented by the US SBA with support from the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
Small-business owners are urged to contact their local SBA lender partner in the territory to apply for the PPP.
Small-business owners can visit www.sba.gov/coronavirus for the most updated information on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and other SBA Programs.
For technical assistance, contact the Virgin Islands Small Business Development Center (VI SBDC) at 693-1694 or email [email protected]. The VIEDA office can also be contacted at 714-1700 or via email at [email protected].