Low-interest loans offered to flood victims

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 Residents in Western Cook County now eligible 

 Chicago, IL – Residents and business owners in Chicago’s Western Suburbs that were hit with severe storms and flooding over the weekend are eligible for low-interest disaster recovery loans, Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias announced today.

 So far, twelve western suburban areas have been declared disaster areas by local officials after heavy storms on Saturday led to major flooding and caused property damage to many buildings and homes. The Treasurer’s Office expects more declarations this week. The local declarations make residents and business owners eligible for the Opportunity Illinois: Disaster Recover Loan Program.

 Under the loan programs, the Treasurer’s Office obtains below-market interest rates for storm victims in declared disaster areas who finance their disaster repairs through participating, local lenders. As of today, loan rates would be no more than 3.5 percent.

 “Our programs offer immediate relief to residents and business owners who are either underinsured or who need help making repairs before their insurance payments arrive,” Giannoulias said. “Access to a quick, affordable loan is often just what people need to recover from devastating property damage and to get their lives back on track.” 

The 11 western suburbs and one township include: Bellwood, Berwyn, Broadview, Cicero, Forest Park, Hillside, Main Township, Maywood, Melrose Park, Oak Park, Stone Park and Westchester. 

Residents, business owners and farmers that expect insurance to cover their damages can qualify for one-year bridge loans with interest-only payments. These loans are designed to be paid off in one lump sum when insurance or aid comes through. 

Underinsured residents, business owners and farmers can qualify for low-interest loans with repayment terms of up to five years. The underinsured storm victims must make payments on the interest and principal for loans exceeding one year. Also, loans with terms longer than two years require a compliance review. 

To participate in the Opportunity Illinois loan programs, borrowers must:

  • Own damaged property in an area declared a local, state or federal disaster area
  • Secure a loan up to their damage amount with a participating lender
  • File the application within 90 days of the state or federal disaster declaration
  • Use the money for disaster recovery

The Treasurer’s Office is currently enrolling local financial institutions in the programs, beginning with the 85 local financial institutions that are already approved to accept state depositories. They include Citizens Community Bank of Illinois in Berwyn, West Town Savings Bank in Cicero and First Suburban National Bank in Maywood. 

If you are a resident, business owner or banker who needs more information on Opportunity Illinois call the storm victim hotline at (866) 523-0641 or email opportunityillinois@treasurer.state.il.us.

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