Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Moab, UT

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    SBA: Committed to help businesses amid pandemic

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    Roughly half of Moab applicants get help for payroll protection

    The U.S. Small Business Administration announced April 16 that the allocated funds for the Paycheck Protection Program were reserved for as many applications as possible and no further applications could be accepted at this time, according to a statement from Marla Trollan, the organization’s Utah district director.

    Since then, small businesses have filed lawsuits against banks. Some of them claim banks such as Chase and Wells Fargo “shuffled” applications rather than processing them as they came in. On Tuesday, April 21, the U.S. Senate approved an additional $322 billion for small businesses. The applications that were submitted for the first round will automatically be submitted for this round, providing everything is in order.

    Here in Moab, about half of the small local businesses that applied received help, according to Laici Shumway, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce. It remains unclear how many applied.

    Zions Bank did the most business processing the loans in Moab. Wells Fargo Bank and Mountain America Credit Union also processed loans. Applications were sent to a central location for processing, making it difficult to get localized information.

    Zions Bank had this to say: “According to the reports from the SBA there were 21,257 PPP loans approved in Utah. Approximately 21% of them were applied for through Zions Bank. Additionally in anticipation of additional funding being appropriated to the PPP program by Congress in the coming days, we are continuing to process all of the applications we have that have not yet received SBA approval so they will be ready for submission to the SBA if/when they resume accepting applications.”

    Unfortunately, said Trollan, applications are no longer being accepted because the initial allotment of $349 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program has been exhausted and the SBA will no longer be able to accept new applications until congress appropriates additional funding.

    “Just as the pandemic we are experiencing now is unprecedented, so is this lending program,” she said in an email. “It is unlike anything the SBA has ever experienced in size, scale and need. Nationally and in Utah, the lending community has stepped up to the challenge, ready or not, and has already processed and approved more SBA loans in less than 14 days than what SBA approved in more than 14 years, saving millions of small businesses in the process. More than 1.6 million loans were made by 4,975 lenders nationwide.”

    Of those, about 21,250 went to Utah businesses at about $4.7 billion. “This volume represents more than 17 times what we normally process in a year. These are impressive results for a program that was implemented two weeks ago,” said Trollan.

    Even though funding is currently unavailable, Trollan encourages businesses to continue working with lenders. The SBA will continue to monitor the situation in Washington, D.C., regarding new funding and will inform applicants if, and as soon as, the loan programs open back up, she said. “We will also continue to work with our Resource Partners and the Rapid Response Team to answer your questions. Direct your questions to or call 801-524-3209.

    Chris Chavez, an SBA spokesperson for the Intermountain West Region, told The Times-Independent that more specific localized information is not yet available. He, like Trollan, encourages applicants to continue working with banks.

    “Despite the current crisis there has been a remarkable amount of collaboration and selfless service,” said Trollan. “Utah small business owners and their employees have seen the way forward to help be of service and to also stay open. Demonstrating how agile they are; from organizing detailed strategies for no contact food or merchandise pick up, expanding delivery options, improving online services, to maximizing telework and technology they have been on the front lines during this unprecedented time of uncertainty.”

    Trollan said life “will continue to be very challenging” even after the pandemic runs its course. “I know that pioneering Utahns will continue to look for new opportunities, look out for one another and will adapt. Utahns can and will overcome and thrive again. We want to be here to help you do that.”

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