PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – If at first you don’t succeed, try and refresh your computer every couple of minutes.
That’s the reality this week for thousands of small business owners in the Pittsburgh region. They’re anxiously waiting to see if their banks successfully process their loan applications for the federally-funded Small Business Association’s Paycheck Protection Program.
KDKA’s Meghan Schiller talked to two small business owners Tuesday who are giving it a second try, hopeful that things will go more smoothly this time around.
“The heartbreaking part of this is: why say it?”
Jimmy Coen knows heartbreak. He just watched his shop Yinzers in the Burgh’ catch fire.
“Why say ‘we just passed this bill and you guys are going to get this within so many days’ and you’re sitting and waiting?” asked Coen.
He’s spending his days cleaning up his smoke-filled shop and water-logged merchandise, while waiting for his application to go through the second time.
“We just had to switch banks,” said Coen. “We had to go to another bank in order to be able to get the money, so we’re pretty sure we’re going to get it.”
He’s hoping for a forgivable loan from the Paycheck Protection Program. Businesses don’t have to pay it back if they keep employees on the payroll for eight weeks and also use the money for rent, mortgage interest or utilities.
The program started back up with a second round of funding at 10:30 Monday morning.
The administrator for the Small Business Association tweeted that within five hours, the SBA processed more than 100,000 loans submitted by 4,000 lenders.
Jessica Setzler tells KDKA’s Meghan Schiller she hopes her company’s application joins the stack.
“It’s a micro-business with less than 10 employees so the banks don’t really have a lot to gain financially from helping us, so it was pretty disappointing to see large companies receiving funding but the micro-businesses like mine didn’t receive any help,” said Setzler.
Her company, Keystone Applied Behavior Analysis, cannot pivot to online sales. She offers face-to-face behavioral therapy to small children with autism.
“I have four staff members that I had to lay off and only one started receiving unemployment,” said Setzler. “The other two are kind of hanging on. It would have been really nice to have been able to provide this funding to be able to keep paying them.”
During the last round of this program, more than 69,000 small businesses across Pennsylvania received loans, totaling 15 billion dollars.
The top 5 states that received the most money include California at $33 billion, Texas at $28 billion, New York at $20 billion, Pennsylvania at $15 billion and Ohio at $14 billion.