In a bill that unanimously passed congress (the paycheck protection program, part of the CARES act), we can quite firmly conclude that the US government believes helping small businesses is an urgent matter. This is one of the reasons the paycheck protection program was rolled out so quickly, even as banks have been unprepared and the guidelines from the Treasury and SBA remain unclear.
Small business owners are anxiously awaiting further news from their lenders as to when they’ll be able to apply for the paycheck protection program. Many small business owners are refreshing their online banking waiting for funds to arrive so they can begin processing payroll and release cash to employees who are dearly in need of their monthly salary.
Neil Bradley, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce executive vice president and chief policy officer, has called for patience, given the challenges with the program’s rollout and that the timeline for approving and disbursing loans is still unknown. “A week ago at this time, this bill hadn’t even passed Congress,” Bradley said. “Everyone’s working at lightning speed, but there’s going to have to be some patience all around. I’m really impressed at how quickly America’s financial institutions have responded.”
Not all banks are ready to get up and running. Most blaming the US Treasury department for last minute changes, including an ‘interim final update’ on Thursday, the night before the program was set to begin. Wells Fargo and Fifth Third Bank publicly said on Friday that they weren’t ready to start accepting PPP loan applications.
So far, the Small Business Administration (SBA) is saying 5,200 loans have already been issued, worth around $1.8 billion, meaning an average loan disbursement of $344,000 per business.