Opinion: How Washington can fix the problem

Lexington County Chronicle
April 30, 2020

By Frank Knapp Jr.

Pour guidelines left ome small businesses out of the $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program loan program.

Yet millions of small businesses in our state and across the country were unable to get a loan and are painfully aware of why.

For example, my family owns a service business with 8 employees. The day before the PPP loans were to be available, our bank of 20 years told us it would not make those loans. Other banks were pursued but they said they were only working with businesses that had accounts with them.

A husband and wife in our state each had a business. She applied for a PPP loan before her husband but the bank insisted she provide a 2019 tax return that is not due until July. Her husband’s application went though without a 2019 tax return.

A CPA friend told me of trying to help one of her clients. After days of frustration with the client’s bank, she was asked by another bank to help a customer with a loan.  She asked the bank to work with her business client who was being stonewalled by his bank. They agreed, processed the loan and the SBA approved it in less than 3 hours.

The fault with the PPP loan process lies with the SBA and Treasury Department, both of which seemed to be oblivious to how private financial institutions operated.

If Congress wants the loans to be “first come, first served,” then the guidelines should require lenders to: 1) accept loan applications from all small businesses, not just customers, 2) have only one queue for applicants and assign a number for queue position that the business can follow online, 3) require the same documentation from every business applying for a loan, and 4) have no minimal loan amount.

Mr. Knapp is SC Small Business Chamber CEO


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