small business administration

President Trump signed legislation Saturday extending the deadline for small businesses to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program, enacted in the weeks following the economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The original deadline to apply for the PPP was this past Tuesday night. But $130 billion still remained in the fund, out of $660 billion allocated. Both houses of Congress approved the extension unanimously earlier this week. With Trump's signature Saturday, businesses will now have until Aug. 8 to apply for the assistance.

When the federal small business rescue program was announced, Krista Kern-Desjarlais scrambled to research it, talking to her banker and digging online.

Kern-Desjarlais runs two restaurants in Maine — the Purple House in North Yarmouth and Bresca & the Honeybee, a summer-only food stand on Sabbathday Lake. She decided to hold off on that coronavirus rescue effort, called the Paycheck Protection Program or PPP.

The Trump administration is asking local Planned Parenthood affiliates around the U.S. to return millions of dollars in loans received through the federal government's coronavirus relief package.

The first time Rosemary Ugboajah applied for a small-business relief loan, it didn't go well. She needed the money for her small Minneapolis-based company, which has created ad campaigns for brands like the NCAA Final Four.

So she went to her credit union.

"They were hard to reach, but eventually I got through to someone and they emailed me back saying they can't process the loan because they don't process SBA loans," she said. "I wasn't aware of that."

Trish Pugh started an Ohio trucking company with her husband in 2015. Even for a small business, it's small — they had two drivers, counting her husband, until they let one go because of the coronavirus crisis.

And so her company applied for a loan under the first, $349 billion round of the Paycheck Protection Program, which the federal government had set up to rescue small businesses.

It didn't go well.

Small and struggling. Those were the companies meant to be helped by the Paycheck Protection Program, which offers loans to small businesses clobbered by the shutdown of the economy.

The program has helped many such companies. But the law's fine print didn't close all loopholes. Large companies, we now know, got loans. And, now it appears that companies didn't have to be struggling to win a loan, either.

Christian Piatt finally got a loan to help rescue his brand-new bar and restaurant in Granbury, Texas.

But it wasn't easy.

He applied through the federal Paycheck Protection Program, which is meant to help small businesses threatened by the pandemic. One bank told him it couldn't lend through the program. Another told him he might have better luck elsewhere. The third approved his loan and he got the money.

Now he's wondering: How should he use his $34,000 loan?

Small businesses, already hammered by the coronavirus pandemic, can't seem to catch a break.

On the first day of the reopened Paycheck Protection Program, a key lifeline from Congress, banks are reporting that the Small Business Administration's portal is not working.

Bankers told NPR on Monday that the system, known as E-Tran, would not allow them to enter loan application information that is needed for small businesses to access the program.

Tom Chang, owner of the Tiger + Lily restaurant in Columbus, says he's applied for two kinds of federal relief and so far hasn't received any.
Nick Evans / WOSU

President Trump signed another coronavirus relief package into law Friday. The bulk of that nearly $484 billion sum goes to the Small Business Administration, the agency tasked with getting money in the hands of companies struggling during the ongoing pandemic.

Updated on Friday at 12:33 p.m. ET

President Trump has signed off on an additional $484 billion in coronavirus relief efforts, which Congress passed earlier in the week. Here's what's in the legislation:

Banks handling the government's $349 billion loan program for small businesses made more than $10 billion in fees — even as tens of thousands of small businesses were shut out of the program, according to an analysis of financial records by NPR.

The banks took in the fees while processing loans that required less vetting than regular bank loans and had little risk for the banks, the records show. Taxpayers provided the money for the loans, which were guaranteed by the Small Business Administration.

Updated at 5:11 p.m. ET

The U.S. Senate has approved a measure to add roughly $484 billion in new funds to bolster the already record-breaking coronavirus response legislation.

The Senate passed the legislation by unanimous consent on Tuesday. House leaders were planning a vote for Thursday.

Shake Shack is returning a $10 million federal loan after the Paycheck Protection Program that was meant to help small businesses ran out of money in less than two weeks of operation. The burger chain and other large businesses were able to get the money because the program covers any company with fewer than 500 workers in a single location.

Senate Democrats blocked a GOP effort to add $250 billion in coronavirus-related small-business loans.

"We need more funding — and we need it fast," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor. "To my Democratic colleagues, do not block emergency aid you do not oppose just because you want something more. We do not have to do everything right now."

Congressional Republicans and the White House want to increase the total amount of loans available through the Paycheck Protection Program from $350 billion to $600 billion.

Tom Chang in the dining room at Tiger + Lily.
Nick Evans / WOSU

Downtown Columbus isn’t exactly a ghost town, but it feels empty—hollowed out. Bars are closed, as are most retail storefronts, but a few restaurants are trying to hang on with takeout and delivery.

Pages