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Few small businesses are taking advantage of the U.S. Small Business Administration's decision to offer Sept. 11-related economic injury disaster loans outside the World Trade Center and Pentagon disaster areas.
Three weeks after the SBA took the unprecedented step of offering disaster loans nationwide, the agency had approved only 29 of these loans, totaling $3.8 million, outside the New York or Washington, D.C., areas, and had received applications from only 462 businesses.
"That's kind of a paltry number," SBA spokeswoman Carol Chastang says.
Small businesses are eligible for the loans if they can't meet their financial obligations or pay their operating expenses because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks or the federal government's response to it. Eligible …