Small business owners brace for pain when $310B loan program opens Monday

The Small Business Administration will begin OKing a second round of loans to struggling businesses on Monday — a process that will be closely watched by hoards of mom-and-pop owners who say they were excluded from the stimulus program the first time around.

The second round of Paycheck Protection Program loans kicks off April 27 at 10:30 am with $310 billion in funding.

“We encourage all approved lenders to process loan applications previously submitted by eligible borrowers and disburse funds expeditiously,” SBA chief Jovita Carranza and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a joint statement on Friday.

The loans have been highly sought after by businesses suffering from coronavirus quarantines because they can be converted into grants by companies that keep their employees on the payroll for an eight week period after the loan is granted. The first round of $350 billion in funding ran out of cash after just 13 days on April 16.

Since then, it’s emerged that dozens of publicly traded companies, some with valuations over $100 million, received funding, including $30 million from Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Potbelly Sandwich Shop and the Wilhelmina International talent agency that represents celebrities from Nicki Minaj to Nick Jonas.

Small business owner Allan Ripp, who applied for a loan from Citibank in the first go around and came away empty handed, said he’s still concerned about being left out of the process while bigger companies get their loans.

“After enduring two weeks of automated hell with Citi’s portal and being repeatedly advised to stay patient while our application is ‘escalated’ with no meaningful sign that it has been, I don’t have a lot of confidence that we’ll be fortunate enough to receive funding, especially knowing how quickly the new round of funding will be committed.”

Citibank didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

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