Fifteen lenders from across Massachusetts pumped an additional $2 million into the emergency loan fund intended to help businesses stay afloat as they contend with the effects of last month’s gas fires and explosions in the Merrimack Valley, the governor announced Wednesday.

The Merrimack Valley Small Business Emergency Loan Fund was launched with an initial $1 million capitalization on Sept. 28 and has already received more than 20 applications from eligible businesses. The addition of $2 million to the fund, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito said in a statement, means that “businesses can also expect more resources and technical support – not just for this immediate recovery period, but for years to come.”

“It is clear with the usage of the emergency loan fund to date, there is a real demand and need for access to capital for these businesses,” Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera said. “The expansion the loan fund will allow for more businesses to gain access to these funds as they wait for their claims to be processed.”

Any business affected by the Sept. 13 gas emergency can apply for a loan of up to $50,000 with no payments and no interest for the first six months. After the initial six-month period, market rates will apply and the loans can be extended or restructured. The fund was created with funding from Massachusetts Growth Capital Corp. and 10 lenders in partnership with the Lawrence Partnership and Mill Cities Community Investments.

The new $2 million in capital comes from Berkshire Bank, Eastern Bank, Northern Trust and People’s United Bank – each contributing $250,000 – as well as $50,000 contributions from Century Bank, East Boston Savings Bank, Enterprise Bank, First Ipswich, Leader Bank, Lowell Five, North Shore Bank, Northmark Bank, Reading Cooperative, South Shore Bank and Wakefield Co-operative Bank. MGCC contributed $450,000.

Also Wednesday, Gov. Charlie Baker announced that the U.S. Small Business Administration has made a disaster declaration that will make the agency’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan available to affected Massachusetts businesses.

Banks Chip in to Biz Relief Fund in Merrimack Valley

by State House News Service time to read: 1 min