Small Business Loan Overview

The Small Business Loan Program provides interest-free loans of up to $50,000 to low- and moderate-income residents of New York City’s five boroughs, Westchester, or Long Island to help launch or expand a business. Apply online here.

Loans are repayable in monthly installments beginning one month after the loan is received. The monthly repayment amount and repayment term is determined on a case by case basis by HFLS’s Microenterprise Committee, with a maximum term of five years. Monthly loan payments are made by electronic debit of a checking account. HFLS is a non-sectarian lender; you do not have to be Jewish to receive an interest-free small business loan from HFLS.

Guarantor Information

One or two guarantors may be required for HFLS Small Business Loans. Please see below for information about guarantor eligibility requirements.

Potential guarantors must complete and sign a Guarantor Form. If a guarantor is married, his or her spouse must also complete and sign the Guarantor Form; together they are considered one guarantor.

Each guarantor is “jointly” and “severally” liable for the loan in the event the borrower is unable to pay for any reason. This means that, while HFLS would expect each guarantor to share equally in the responsibility of repaying the loan, each is liable legally for the full amount, and any one guarantor could be called upon to repay the balance due.

Guarantors must meet the following criteria:

  • US citizens or legal residents currently living in New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut
  • Have a checking account, credit score of at least 680, and total family income of at least $60,000 a year
  • Currently employed (HFLS prefers persons who have worked at least one year in their present position)

Even if they meet the requirements above, the following people may not guarantee a loan:

  • Persons living in the same household as the borrower
  • Persons who currently have an HFLS loan or are a guarantor on an HFLS loan
  • Pulpit Clergy (clergy are often asked to guarantee due to their high visibility within their community; this rule, therefore, exists for their own protection)
  • Persons who are unable to repay the loan

Loan Documents & Interview

The documents below are required for a Small Business Loan. Once you have completed or collected all the documents below, please email them to Microenterprise Program Director, Shlomo Haft at

From the borrower:

  • Interest -Free Small Business Loan Application, completed and signed by the borrower (and their spouse, if they are married). (Download the Application Form at the bottom of this page.)
  • Household Budget Worksheet
  • Copies of government-issued photo IDs that include signatures and serve as proof of address for the borrower and their spouse (e.g. driver’s license). If the driver’s license does not include the borrower’s current address, HFLS will require proof of residency (e.g. a utility bill or account statement).
  • Voided check for the borrower’s checking account.
  • Corporate By-Laws

From the guarantors (guarantors may choose to send these documents directly to HFLS):

  • Guarantor Forms, completed and signed by the guarantors and their spouses, if they are married. (Download the Guarantor Forms at the bottom of this page.)
  • Copies of government-issued photo IDs that include signatures for the guarantors and their spouses, if they are married (e.g. driver’s license or U.S. passport).

Failure to submit these documents will delay the processing of your application. 

 After you submit the documents above, Shlomo will review them and contact you regarding whether HFLS is able to proceed with your loan request. If HFLS is able to proceed with your request, Shlomo will provide information about scheduling a meeting with the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) to prepare your business financials. SBS will advise you of the documentation required for that meeting.

Loan Decisions & Closing

HFLS’s Microenterprise Committee reviews and decides on loan requests once monthly. If the Committee has questions about your application or guarantors, you may receive a call or email from the Microenterprise Program Director or a Loan Officer asking for further information before the Committee will make its decision.

You will receive information within one business day after the committee meets to review your loan request. The Committee, in its discretion, may decline to make a loan, make a loan in an amount less than that requested, or require different or additional guarantors.

If your loan is approved, you must complete the final loan paperwork and bring the original signed documents to HFLS’s Manhattan office to close your loan. Please do NOT date the final loan documents. The final paperwork includes:

  • A Promissory Note, to be signed by the borrower and their spouse
  • A Guaranty of Payment to be signed by the guarantors and their spouses
  • A Loan & Security Agreement signed by the borrower and their spouse
  • An ACH authorization form, so monthly loan payments can be withdrawn automatically from your checking account