Exclusive: Former SBA says small business owners should not panic over coronavirus outbreak

News 8 Exclusive

STAMFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Former Small Business Administrator (SBA) for President Donald Trump, Linda McMahon, said her former federal agency is processing loans as fast as possible for struggling business owners.

In the meantime, the best advice she can offer is do not panic.

“My heart is with the small business owners, which there are 30 million in this country,” McMahon said. “They are the backbone of our economy.”

McMahon sat down with News 8 at her Stamford office for an exclusive interview in which she said she knows what it’s like to lead a federal agency during a crisis.

Right after she took office, the United States suffered through three hurricanes — Harvey being one of them.

“We marshaled all of the forces we had to be able to take care of those loans,” she said. “We were thinking a lot out of the box.”

McMahon said this pandemic makes it difficult. It’s not a regional business crisis, it’s nationwide.

“Your roof didn’t blow off, but you don’t have any customers. Your doors are closed and it’s all over the country. How that will be handled will be challenging and spectacular.”

Aside from SBA emergency loans, which Connecticut now is now approved for, Congress is crafting a new small business relief package.

WEB EXTRA: Linda McMahon on impacts of Coronavirus on her family and small businesses

It will offer $300 billion for small businesses specifically. The money — when approved — would be infused into local banks for fast track funding.

McMahon said it would be for payroll, debt service and rent and mortgage payments. These are the most immediate needs for many businesses that are on the brink.

If used for those specific needs there would be no repayment. Looking ahead, she said reducing hours or furloughs for workers can help in the long run.

“When you are ready to start back up, if you’ve got your employee base there you can get right back into business.”

Connecticut Small businesses can apply for federal loans of up to $2 million online.

State business owners can call (800) 659-2955 with any questions.

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