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As businesses still struggle to rebuild following Sandy, the New York Bankers Association (NYBA) and the New York Business Development Corporation (NYBDC) have created a $10 million small business emergency fund providing immediate financial assistance for those affected by the superstorm, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday.

“The banking industry understands that the quick recovery of small businesses will be key to the rebuilding of our neighborhoods. We are eager to help in this critical effort so that New York’s small business owners can get back to work, and back to providing goods and services to their communities,” said Michael P. Smith, president and CEO of NYBA.

Businesses in affected areas can apply for up to $25,000 in expedited loans that will be interest and payment-free for the first six months, then will have a one percent interest for the next two years.

But to be eligible for the loans, a business must be in New York City or Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk counties, and have experienced direct damage or economic hardship as a result of Sandy.

Also, it must be independently owned, have fewer than 100 employees and have filed 2011 business tax returns.

To apply for a loan, visit www.esd.ny.gov or call 1-855-NYS-SANDY.

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