Dollars in hand

The Payroll Protection Program is designed to get dollars into the hands of businesses and their employees.

By KATHY ROPP

Kathy.ropp@myhorrynews.com

Rusty Richardson with Anderson Brothers Bank was sitting on go Friday, eagerly waiting for the Small Business Administration to open its portal so he could begin feeding in applications for the second round of the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program.

President Donald Trump signed the stimulus bill later that day, and the SBA is set to open its application portal Monday at 10:30 a.m. Richardson had about 100 applications left from the PPP’s first round, and that number grew as his staff continued to take them.

 “We’ve been logging, prepping and reviewing for four days now, so about 300 are ready to be keyed in,” he said.

The winners in this round should be the self-employed, people like landscapers and plumbers, because they were not allowed to apply in the first round, according to Richardson.

“They got the short end of the stick…They literally lost out because SBA was very late in providing self-employed guidance. That’s why I think it’s going to be a quick hit,” he said.

It takes about 15 minutes to file an application and about 30 seconds to get an approval. The loan must be closed and the applicant must have his money within 10 days after the application is approved. As of Friday, ABB still had about 100 loans from the first round that hadn’t been closed.

Speed is important in filing the applications because they are taken on a first-come, first-serve basis. Although the first $350 billion round was expected to close June 30, the money was all allotted in only 12 days.

Richardson expects this next round of about $350 billion to go as fast as the first one, so he was determined to start sending applications the minute they started being taken, the same way his bank did with the first round when they got 1,080 of their applications approved.

Richardson puts the overwhelming rush on the loan process into perspective by pointing out that in 2019 the SBA processed and closed 58,000 loans. In the 12 days of round one of the PPP, the SBA processed 1.6 million applications.

ABB marketing director Susan Grant has some advice for people who want to apply. They need to get their 2019 taxes done or prepare a Schedule C, because they will need the Schedule C. Also, she said, people who are self-employed need to get a copy of a bank statement or invoice that says, basically, they were a business in 2020, according to Grant. These are high-level requirements, but are not all inclusive.

Although banks take the applications, they do not approve or disapprove the loans. That job falls to the Small Business Administration. The terms of the loan carry a 1 percent interest rate with a six-month deferral for a loan term of 24 months. Applicants must maintain strict spending records for the eight-week period, beginning with the date of the loan, in order to meet the SBA forgiveness requirements for the loan.

Richardson, the COO, says his bank hasn’t been limiting its applicants to its regular customers, but has submitted a number of applications for noncustomers.

“This is a terrible situation for people and it’s been tough on a lot of small businesses,” he said.

They’ve been so concerned about securing money for people in this area that they even set up tables outside and took appointments for loan closings on a Saturday.

“It’s been truly a labor of love for business people. It’s been a labor of love for business people in the area…It’s been the hardest thing that I believe I’ve ever worked on,” he said.

Richardson said the word competition does not factor into this equation because he’s been working with several other banks to get this job done.

“This has been more a labor of love…All we cared about was getting money on the street,” he said.

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I'm the editor of the Horry Independent, a weekly newspaper in Conway, South Carolina. I cover city hall and courts, among many other subjects. Know of a good story? Call me at 843-488-7241.

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