Offers of Aid

As more Los Angeles shopkeepers reopened for business Friday in the aftermath of last week's riot, corporations and governmental agencies continued to come forward with offers of aid for the thousands of small businesses that suffered losses during the disturbance:

Koreatown's Hanmi Bank disclosed a $10-million rebuilding fund to assist its Korean-American customers. The maximum loan amount is $100,000, with no loan fee and an approval time within three days. The bank said the interest rate will be its prime rate for the first year, and its regular commercial rate after that. It will also have a one-year grace period amortized over four years.

Bank of America on Friday disclosed the specific information on its previously announced $25-million program devoted to rebuilding small businesses damaged in the riots. The bank's program makes available up to $100,000 for each business. The initial structure will be a 10-year note with a below-market interest rate of 5%. For the first three years, small business owners are not required to make any payments on the principal or interest.

After three years, businesses owners have three choices. They can repay the face value of the note, with interest for the prior three years forgiven. Or they can convert it to a conventional small business loan with interest for the prior three years forgiven, fully amortized up to seven years at a 5% fixed rate or with other negotiable terms. Another option is to convert the note into some kind of equity interest held by the bank.

The state Department of Insurance said it will provide insurance information and assistance in Spanish and Korean to business owners and homeowners who suffered losses in the riot. The department's toll-free hot line--800-927-HELP (or 800-927-4357)--will be staffed with interpreters to help people with general questions about insurance or specific questions about their policy or coverage. Additionally, assistance forms will be available at seven disaster aid centers throughout Los Angeles in English, Spanish, Korean and Mandarin, the department said.

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