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Small businesses struggle as government’s paycheck protection loan program goes on hold

Posted at 9:38 PM, Apr 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-16 23:18:28-04

It took only 13 days for the $350 billion coronavirus rescue program for small businesses to run out of money.

On Wednesday, the Small Business Administration released a statement saying in part that they'd processed more than 14 years worth of loans in less than 14 days.

According to the statement, "by law, the SBA will not be able to issue new loan approvals once the programs experience a lapse in appropriations."

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) intended to keep businesses afloat and workers on the payroll is no longer accepting any more applications. This came after more than 1.5 million loan applications were approved in less than two weeks.

But for millions of other small businesses who were planning to use that money as a lifeline, they're now left in limbo.

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“Unfortunately they are getting shut out, they weren’t able to get in under the gun before money ran out,” said Mike O'Halloran.

O'Halloran is with the National Federation of Independent Businesses which is an organization that represents hundreds of thousands of small businesses nationwide.

“Frankly, they’re scared and they have every right to be,” he said.

O’Halloran says his organization did a survey of its members and 90 percent of them say they won’t be able to last another two months without some type of aid.

“The harsh reality is that a lot of our small business aren’t going to weather our storm,” he explained.

More money for small businesses could be on the way, but a deal to expand the program is at standstill as both Democrats and Republicans in D.C. spar over the details.

O’Halloran says congress needs to move on this, because taxpayers have no time to waste.

He says the future of countless small businesses is on the line.

“We are urging Congress to fund the 251 billion dollars more into the PPP program so we can get this money into the hands of the people who need it most,” O'Halloran said.

For the greater Baltimore area, M&T Bank has approved PPP loans for 6,660 businesses in the area, totaling more than $1.3 billion.

The money will help businesses in the Baltimore area keep employees on their payrolls during the COVID-19 outbreak and resulting economic hardship.

In all, M&T Bank funded PPP loan applications for 27,711 businesses.