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How to boost your chances of getting a small-business loan under the new relief package

Posted at 5:08 PM, Apr 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-23 19:00:14-04

BALTIMORE — It took just 14 days for the Treasury Department to run out of $350 billion allocated for small business loans, and this next round is anticipated to be just as competitive.

On Tuesday, the Senate approved a $484 billion deal, which includes $310 billion for the depleted Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), of which $60 billion will be allocated to small and medium-sized banks and credit unions, and $60 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL).

Matt Rothstein, CPA and Director at RS&F, works with middle-market businesses applying for relief. He said business owners hoping to get approved, need to be aggressive.

"If you already applied on the first round and did not get the funds, reach out to your contacts at the bank or reach out to a new bank, you can apply to multiple banks," Rothstein said.

He recommends connecting with bank representatives before applying, while applying, and checking that your information is correct, so on the day that you can apply, all you have to do is hit submit.

"Make sure that the application they’re submitting meets the bank’s criteria for how they calculate the loan and they have all the supporting information that they need because what we don’t want to see is a business apply, find out they miscalculated the way that the loan should be, and then they get pushed to the back of the line because they have to redo their loan amounts," said Rothstein.

Rothstein estimates around 75 percent of his clients were approved for loans in the first round of funding.

In Maryland, 26,068 loans were approved totaling $6.5 billion, according to data provided by the Small Business Administration.

However, the Maryland Bankers Association found that nearly 5,000 PPP loan applications were pending or in the process when funding ran out. After surveying its members, the MBA said 17,389 Maryland jobs are currently at stake.

The National Small Business Association said businesses with less than 10 employees were disproportionately impacted while big companies like Ruth's Chris received $20 million in funding.

"I haven’t received a dollar from anything," said Shannon Roberts, CEO of Brand Builders.

Roberts said she immediately started filling out the application the minute Bank of America opened their site up, which was over two weeks ago, but her application is still listed as under review.

"I had to lay off 375 people. Some of them independent contractors, some of them employees, but we have no operations right now and we have no funding," said Roberts.

Kim Lyons, owner and creator of An Etch Above in Baltimore, is also just trying to get by after her PPP application didn't go anywhere.

"I've been in business eight years, and I would like to continue being in business, but it’s a challenge every day," said Lyons.

Both said they'd like to see additional protections built into the new relief bill, so smaller businesses that are struggling to survive receive assistance they need to reopen in the future.

"All of my local friends that own businesses, we're making ends meet, that's it," said Lyons. "We're just offering a service to our community because we have a passionate for it and we're the ones that are going to get hurt out of all of this."

The House is set to vote on the relief measure on Thursday. The president has already indicated that he would sign the additional funding into law.

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