Residents apply for more state loan aid to rebuild

Flooded homeowners are asking for about $3.6 million in supplemental loans from a state program that began taking applications Oct. 1.

The Bank of North Dakota reports that it has received 182 applications in the Supplemental Rebuilders Loan Program, which offers low-interest loans of up to $20,000 to homeowners who previously received loans from the original Rebuilders Loan Fund. The original loan limit was $30,000.

Homeowners who received the original loans have until Dec. 31 to apply for a supplemental loan. To be eligible, homeowners must be living in their residences that were damaged by flooding in 2011 in Barnes, Benson, Burleigh, McHenry, Morton, Ramsey, Renville, Richland or Ward counties.

Money is borrowed at 1 percent interest over 20 years, and borrowers have a two-year grace period before repayment must begin. The first repayments in the Rebuilders Loan Program will come due in January. Any supplemental loan will come due at the same time as the original rebuilders loan.

Applications to the original Rebuilders Loan Program closed Sept. 30.

Through Nov. 15, the original and supplemental programs have closed, approved or are in the process of reviewing 1,840 applications totaling more than $49.3 million. The North Dakota Legislature appropriated $50 million and later added another $5 million while opening the program to landlords and to residents for purchase of temporary housing units.

There were 145 loans totaling $1.84 million granted for purchase of Federal Emergency Management housing units. There were 27 loans totaling $816,000 for improvements to investment properties. The application period for those loans has ended.

“This has been a very successful program,” said Eric Hardmeyer, president of the Bank of North Dakota, who noted that involvement of private banks in servicing the loans was key.

“The ability to leverage the private sector and have them help us at the front end was really instrumental in us getting this done. If we would have had to process 2,000 applications on a short period of time directly with the customer, I don’t know if we could have done it,” he said.

Borrowers needed to provide cost estimates and receipts that exceed expenses already covered by other assistance, including Small Business Administration loans. Homeowners may need to provide additional receipts to get supplemental loans.

Hardmeyer said homeowners’ costs often exceeded initial damage assessments, and this additional cost is eligible for supplemental loan assistance.