April 9, 2020

S.C. business leader explains small business, employee frustrations over federal stimulus bill

By Cameron Crowe | April 9, 2020 at 8:56 PM EDT – Updated April 9 at 9:16 PM

FLORENCE, S.C. (WMBF) – Nearly half of the Pee Dee economy is made up of small businesses, and many of these businesses have had a difficult time accessing the $358 billion guaranteed through the paycheck protection program.

S.C. Small Business Chamber of Commerce CEO Frank Knapp said small businesses are very frustrated.

Knapp said some community banks are not providing the government-funded PPP loans and many larger banks are not allowing new customers to apply for the loans.

Meanwhile, he said many banks are not happy with the Small Business Administration and Treasury Department since they haven’t provided the proper guidance on if the loans are 100% forgivable.

Knapp said the money from the stimulus bill needs to get to the small businesses or we are doomed for a recession.

“This truly is a very terrible and abysmal rollout of this program. Putting money in the bank for the loans is good and will be necessary, but right now we have to actually get that money to the small businesses, because every day that this goes on, that these businesses do not have an infusion of cash, we are losing more and more permanently,” said Knapp.

Another piece of the stimulus bill guaranteed $600 a week in unemployment benefits, as many Americans have been laid off due to the pandemic.

Many still struggle to apply and access the additional money provided by the federal government.

Knapp said those looking for unemployment benefits were running into the same problems faced by small businesses applying for PPP loans as the government has been unable to find out a way to get the money to the public.

He said that it is an important part of the legislation that the federal government must figure out, so consumers can have money to support small businesses.

“Once again none of this stimulus money is hitting the street, not for the unemployed, not for the small businesses. Everything is tied up in Washington and they are not getting the money out there,” said Knapp.

Out of the $358 billion guaranteed to small businesses, less than a third has been loaned out.


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