DAYTON — It’s now or never for small businesses seeking economic relief for the coronavirus pandemic. This was the message from Congressman Mike Turner (R-Dayton) and other Dayton area business leaders who met Wednesday to to encourage Ohio small businesses to apply for the last of the federal Paycheck Protection Program loans.
The deadline for these loans is March 31.
Turner strongly encouraged all Ohio small businesses to apply for these loans regardless of how severely they have been impacted by the pandemic.
“People had a lot of questions when the program first started,” Turner said. “We now have those answers.”
PPP loans, first established by the CARES Act and continued through coronavirus relief legislation, are forgiveable. The loans are designed for small businesses to use for a wide variety of expenses, including payroll, rent, business maintenance, utilities, repairs, coronavirus-related supplies, and other uses. As of August 2020, 7,300 businesses had received $820 Million in PPP assistance in Ohio’s 10th district, which Turner represents.
Bank executives, who attended the press conference, added that the process for qualifying for these loans has become “really simple.”
“Don’t assume you don’t qualify, and don’t assume it’s hard,” said Shon Myers, president and chief executive of Farmers & Merchants Bank.
“There is no analysis for capacity for repayment. Don’t be concerned with your credit score heading into this opportunity,” said Huntington Bank senior vice president Maggie Ference.
Bankers, businesspersons and public officials have a good reason for their haste. If Ohio doesn’t use it, the money will go to other places, potentially other states.
“If we don’t apply for the funds, we lose the money,” Turner said Wednesday. “We want to bring those dollars into the community.”
Even small business owners who have not been severely impacted should apply, local leaders said.
“We see that a lot, the smaller the business is, they’ll say ‘I’m doing fine, someone needs this more than me,’ ” said Chris Kershner, president of the Dayton Chamber of Commerce. “You’ve paid into this. This is one time you can get something back. This program is designed for you.”
Leaders also encouraged nonprofits and sole proprietors to take advantage of the opportunity.
“We’re continuing to connect to that micro-community, which has a higher correlation of minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses,” Ference said. “This is a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get access to these funds.”
It is unlikely that Congress or the White House will authorize an extension of these loans, Turner said. The senate would have to take it under consideration independently, something the representative does not foresee happening.
“I encourage [business owners] to treat this as if there will not be an extension,” Turner said.
According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), small businesses and non-profits with fewer than 20 employees and sole proprietors can apply for Second Draw PPP loans from Feb 24 through March 9. The program will be open to all eligible entities from March 10 through March 31.
Reach London Bishop at 937-502-4532 or follow @LBishopFDH on Twitter.