Business owners face challenges in obtaining PPP loans

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– The government’s Paycheck Protection Program was designed to help small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, but some small business owners are reporting problems with the program.

It’s like a tale of two relief programs where one provides help while the other provides frustration.

Two local business owners, Rob Ross and Rebecca Teague, applied for PPP loans. Both owners getting the loan wasn’t easy.

The Small Business Administration is the federal agency in charge of PPP. However, applicants go through a third-party lender like banks to submit their loan applications. Part of the issue may be making sure the application paperwork is in order for submission. This would require an eye for detail.

“There are some hoops to jump through, which, there should be if you’re going to take free money,” said Lisa Simpson, Vice President of the American Institue for Certified Public Accountants.

Jumping those hoops by yourself can mean problems. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 90% of women-owned businesses have just one employee.

“There has to be a place where we can go to find out where there’s help at,” said Teague.

Ross, who owns the Peddler’s Post in Bolivar, says he and others had application help from their local bank.

“I know it’s federal money, but it made a big difference for people in Polk County who were able to get PPP loans,” said Ross.

Teague opens her health spa only weeks before the COVID-19 shutdowns. She applied for PPP through Bank of America but never received the loan money.

Bank of America couldn’t comment about Teague’s application but did say missing paperwork is sometimes an issue. Teague says she tried to reach out to the bank several times, but couldn’t get an update on her application.

Another issue could be proximity. Ross could make an in-person visit to a local bank to get his application set. However, Teague’s experience shows navigating the loan process from a distance is almost like having a full-time job.

“Because there needs to be more help for us,” said Teague.

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