Health Metro Louisville

Businesses that have received loans from Louisville Metro government can now seek to have payments deferred for up to three months, under a plan approved Friday by the Metropolitan Business Development Corporation board of directors.

The board administers nine different loan programs to assist local businesses with property improvements, accessibility expansions, gap financing and more.

The deferment plan was unanimously approved and is in direct response to the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic as businesses are shuttering across the city.

Under the plan, the city will also forgo charging late fees to borrowers for three months, and extend loan maturity dates for up to three months for businesses approved for deferment.

Businesses must still apply for the deferment program, and those with payments that are already more than 30 days past due will not qualify, according to the plan. The city currently has $8.2 million out in loans to businesses. City data shows that 16 of 142 businesses are currently behind on payments and wouldn’t qualify.

“I think it’s really forward looking to do this now, and give our clients some relief before they even have a chance to get deep in the hole,” said board member Jacqueline Pennington.

A number of these loans are for restaurant renovations. Restaurants are currently closed statewide, except for delivery and takeout.

The board approved more than $12 million in city loans between July 2011 and November 2017, according to city records.

The largest loan approved during this time was for environmental cleanup at The Edison Center, a former Louisville Gas and Electric building that was recently renovated and now houses hundreds of city employees.

Jacob Ryan is a reporter for the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.