With more and more businesses looking for ways to keep afloat and outlast the pandemic, a company co-founded by a lifelong Pasadena resident has been working overtime to help local business people obtain loans.
Helpwithmyloan.com, based in Burbank, launched in 2017, according to CEO Chris Karageuzian of Pasadena, who started the company with co-founder Jack Artinian.
And while the business has grown exponentially since then, Karageuzian said he’s proudest of the impact the company has been able to make in the lives of small business owners.
“We’ve had conversations with clients in tears because of the joy of telling them, ‘We got you approved. The funds are in your accounts. You can keep your doors open. You don’t have to fire anybody. You don’t have to let your house go,’” he said.
“These are real problems and real voices that I’ve heard and I… it gets me really emotional because it’s real people. It’s not just numbers.”
The company began with the intention to “revolutionize and simplify the lending process for the full spectrum of lending in commercial, residential business and personal loans,” Karageuzian said.
“And how we did it is we basically automated over 300 banks that we’re syndicated with into our database, and we’ve used AI software to underwrite and process these loans at an 80 percent quicker time than the average bank or online lender,” he said. “And because of this, it’s given the company a 95 percent funding rate. We’ve closed over a hundred million dollars in lending in three short years.”
Once the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Southern California, the company was well-positioned to help businesses take advantage of available programs.
“Because of these processes and technology we built, we were seamlessly able to help in the [Payment Protection Program] and the [Economic Injury Disaster Loans] process, and that kept over 50 businesses operating and not closing their doors, as well,” he said. “We’re pretty much at a 98 percent funding rate on the PPP and EIDL.”
As the son of an entrepreneur, Karageuzian said his heart goes out to the business people struggling through the pandemic.
“This year, it became a passion of not only helping the industry but helping small businesses stay alive. We weren’t helping big corporations get these funds. I’m talking about your small businesses in Pasadena, Glendale, Burbank, Studio City.”
While the PPP program, which offered forgivable loans to businesses who met eligibility criteria, has closed, the EIDL program remains open through Dec. 31, Karageuzian said.
EIDL loans must be repaid, but with “unbelievable” terms, he said.
“When I say unbelievable: It’s a 30-year-fixed, 30-year-amortized business loan at 3.75 percent. In my 25 years of doing this, I’ve never seen a term like that,” he said.
“And it also comes with one-year deferred payments,” Karageuzian said. “This is truly to help businesses. So I urge people if they don’t know or haven’t applied, they need to do it now because time’s running out.”
More information on the company is available online at helpwithmyloan.com.