“Absolute chaos” as companies try to tap into bailout funds
NEW YORK (AP) – Desperate small business owners hoping for a quick government lifeline to help them survive the coronavirus crisis are still out of funds, instead battling red tape, wary banks, and submerged computer systems.
Thousands of homeowners who have applied for loans under the government’s salary protection program are waiting for their money in the second week.
And thousands of people who have sought relief through Small Business Administration (SBA) economic disaster loans have waited even longer, some since mid-March.
Some got money. But a myriad of problems at the SBA and banks are asking a lot more if they will be able to stay in business: they have been forced to close their doors due to social distancing regulations or because customers have cut their spending.
Those in limbo include owners hoping to avoid layoffs.
The cancellation of weddings, parties and other events forced catering Leslie Nilsson to lay off half of its 10-person staff, but her kitchen staff are still working, preparing 500 meals a day for New York health workers.
“If I don’t get this money, I don’t know how I will pay it in the next couple of weeks,” said Bartleby & Sage owner Nilsson.
He applied for a loan under the $ 349 billion salary protection program.
He also hopes to get his administrative staff back to work.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin raised near-instant liquidity expectations when, announcing the salary protection program, he said companies could receive their loans the same day they applied.