$1 Billion in Disaster Loans Approved First 18 Days of January, SBA Says
WASHINGTON - The recovery and rebuilding process in the Gulf Region continues to move at a record pace when it comes to SBA disaster loan approvals. Since the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the agency has approved more than $3 billion in low-interest, taxpayer-backed disaster loans - $1 billion approved in the first 18 days of January alone. Loan approvals for the month have averaged more than $54.5 million per day, according to the SBA. Nearly $600 million in disaster loans have been made to businesses, the agency said. Louisiana has received more than $1.65 billion in disaster loans and Mississippi has received almost $1.17 billion. The agency said it is in it for the long haul. "We will not stop working to provide needed assistance," said SBA Administrator Hector Barreto. There are more than 4,000 SBA employees working on disaster assistance, more than four times the number before Hurricane Katrina struck, the SBA said. The agency has already processed more than 167,000 applications and inspected more than 176,000 properties.