Most Small Firms Report Not Yet Getting Money From Virus Funds

Most small businesses that applied for two government coronavirus relief programs haven’t received any money yet, with most still planning to apply when funds ran out last week, a new survey shows.

Only about 20% of small businesses that applied for a loan under the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, had money deposited in their account as of April 17, according to a survey that theNational Federation of Independent Business conducted of its members. Few members received funds under the Economic Injury Disaster Loan initiative, or EIDL, a virus aid program that’s separate from PPP, the survey showed.

“Small businesses were prepared and ready to apply for these programs, the only financial support options for most, and it is very frustrating that the majority of these true small businesses haven’t received their loan yet,” Holly Wade, NFIB director of research and policy analysis, said in a statement.

The $349 billion that Congress allocated for PPP, in which theU.S. Small Business Administration guaranteed loans for lenders to disburse,was exhausted on Thursday after just 13 days. The SBA also stopped accepting applications for coronavirus-related EIDL funding last week when the $17 billion allocated for that program ran out.

The Senateplans to meet Tuesday for a potential vote on a measure that includes more funding for both programs.

Almost three-quarters of NFIB members who responded to the survey said they applied for a PPP loan, while 26% said they were in the process of submitting an application when funding ran out. The NFIB said it didn’t ask how many members who applied had been approved but not yet funded.

The program, which was enacted last month as part of a $2.2 trillion relief package in response to the virus outbreak, offered loans of as much as $10 million. The loans convert to grants if proceeds are used to keep workers on the payroll and cover rent and other approved expenses for about two months, a short-term stopgap designed to help businesses get by until the economy reopens.

About 40% of NFIB members surveyed reported applying for an EIDL loan from the SBA, but only 1% reported receiving proceeds as of April 17. Of those who applied for EIDL loans, 77% also requested an emergency advance of as much as $10,000 that doesn’t have to be repaid, but only 10% had received money, NFIB said.

The SBA has limited the advance to $1,000 per employee. Less than half those that received funding got the full $10,000 available, the NFIB said.

The survey also showed that a majority of NFIB members think the economy won’t recover until next year or later. Asked how long they think it will take for their local economy to return to near pre-crisis levels, 39% said some time in 2021. A total of 21% said by December, while 20% said between 2022 and 2024. Just 11% said by this July and 4% said after 2024.

The survey was conducted by email April 17 with a random sample of the group’s membership database of about 300,000 small businesses owners, with 885 usable responses, the NFIB said.

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