SBA to offer low-interest disaster loans to Alabamians affected by January tornado

By Mike Cason |

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced today that Alabama businesses and people in seven counties affected by the tornado that struck Jan. 25-26 can apply for low-interest disaster loans.

SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas said the decision comes in response to request from Gov. Kay Ivey.

The disaster declaration covers Jefferson, Bibb, Blount, St. Clair, Shelby, Tuscaloosa, and Walker counties.

“The SBA is strongly committed to providing the people of Alabama with the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist businesses of all sizes, homeowners and renters with federal disaster loans,” Guzman said in a press release. “Getting businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at SBA.”

The SBA will open a disaster loan outreach center at the Fultondale Public Library starting Wednesday at at 9 a.m. Customer service representatives will be available to answer questions and help people apply for loans. The center will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 10.

Visitors to the disaster loan outreach center are encouraged to wear a face mask. The center will stay open until further notice.

“Businesses and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets,” SBA’s Alabama District Director Tom Todt said.

Small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations can be eligible for Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the SBA to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.

Kem Fleming, director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East in Atlanta, said, “Loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.”

Applicants may be eligible for loan amounts up to 20% more than their physical damages as verified by the SBA. That could be for mitigation improvements such as a safe room or storm shelter, sump pump, French drain or retaining wall to help protect against future disasters.

Interest rates are as low as 3% for businesses, 2% for nonprofit organizations, and 1.125% for homeowners and renters, with terms up to 30 years, the SBA said. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application via SBA’s secure website at

Information is also available by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing), or by emailing Loan applications can also be downloaded at Completed applications should be returned to the center or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155. The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is June 1, 2021. The deadline to return economic injury applications is Jan. 3, 2022.