America’s Recovery Capital (ARC) loan programme can provide a “bridge” of up to $35,000 in short-term relief for viable small businesses facing immediate financial hardship, the SBA said in a statement announcing the scheme’s launch on 15 June.

ARC loans can be used for up to six months to make payments of principal and interest, in full or in part, on one or more existing, qualifying small-business debts. Such debt includes mortgages, term and revolving lines of credit, capital leases, credit card obligations and notes payable to vendors, suppliers and utilities.

Repayment will not begin until 12months after the final disbursement. After this deferral period, borrowers will pay back the loan principal over a period of five years.

SBA-approved commercial lenders will offer ARC loans for as long as funding is available or until 30 September 2010, whichever comes first.