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 three months 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 loan terms typically ranging from 12 to 36 months. 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.

Since HFLS lends to households, a married couple is considered one borrower. If an applicant is married or partnered, he or she must include their spouse’s/partner’s information in the application.

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 or partnered, his or her spouse/partner 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:

  • You, your spouse/partner, or your dependents
  • Persons who currently have an HFLS loan or are a guarantor on an HFLS loan
  • Persons who are financially unable to repay the loan

Loan Documents & Interview

The documents below are required for a Small Business Loan.

From the borrower:

  • Small Business Loan Application, submitted by the applicant and including information for their spouse or partner, if relevant. The Small Business Loan online application can be found 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 applicant and their spouse or partner, if relevant (e.g. a driver’s license). If the driver’s license does not include the applicant’s current address, HFLS may require other documentation as proof of residency.
  • Voided check for the borrower’s checking account.
  • Corporate By-Laws.

From the guarantors:

  • Online Guarantor Form submitted by the guarantor and including information for their spouse or partner, if relevant. The guarantor will receive an email including a unique link to an online Guarantor Form after the applicant submits their application.
  • Copies of government-issued photo IDs for the guarantors (and their spouses or partners, if relevant), e.g. a driver’s license or U.S. passport. HFLS may ask for proof of address if the ID does not provide it.

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

 After you submit the documents above, Microenterprise Program Director Shlomo Haft ( 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 will receive an email with loan closing documents for you to complete and sign electronically via DocuSign. The loan closing paperwork includes:

  • A Promissory Note, to be signed by the borrower, guarantor, and all spouses/partners
  • A Guaranty of Payment to be signed by the guarantors and their spouses/partners
  • A Loan & Security Agreement signed by the borrower and their spouse/partner
  • An Authorization of Automatic Payments (ACH) form, so the loan funds can be transferred directly into your checking account and so HFLS can withdraw monthly loan repayments directly from your checking account.

Once HFLS receives the electronically signed documents above, we will disburse your loan funds directly into your checking account within three business days. (Please note that it may take a few extra days after the disbursement for the loan funds to appear in your checking account.)