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SBA Disaster Assistance: Then and Now

Posted on August 26, 2010 by bp complaints

Tommy and Maria DeLaune are a prime example of small business owners who suffered a one-two punch from Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater BP oil spill.  They run Tommy’s Seafood, a New Orleans seafood processor and wholesaler that employs about 20 people. 

When Hurricane Katrina hit, the business suffered major damage at its two facilities, including loss of equipment and inventory.  They applied for an SBA disaster loan in October 2005 but didn’t get approved until May 2006 and the loan wasn’t fully disbursed until October 2006, a year later.

They got hit again when the oil spill forced closures on fishing waters in the Gulf of Mexico, where their suppliers work.  Tommy and his wife Maria had to look 500 miles away to find more seafood to process, so they had higher expenses and lower profit margins.  This time around, however, their experience with SBA was “amazing,” according to Maria.  Their disaster loan was approved in just 16 days and it was fully disbursed just a month later. Additionally, SBA deferred their existing Katrina loan for 12 months so they can use more of their resources to deal with the financial strain caused by the oil spill.

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