CHICAGO (CBS) — The United States Chamber of Commerce says a new poll shows nearly a quarter of small businesses say they can only survive two more months before they have to permanently close.
Applications for emergency loans started Friday, but the process can be confusing and no one knows exactly how soon the money will arrive.
The Kids’ Table had two Chicago locations, and nine employees teaching families to cook. They’ve laid off all but two.
They’re now taking a stab at online courses and putting a lot of hope in the federal government’s emergency small business loans to hire people back, but there’s a glitch.
“There’s a bit of a yoyo problem,” said Elena Marre, of the Kids’ Table. “It’s really like an emotional roller coaster.”
The program’s application wasn’t finalized until late Thursday night, and that has made it difficult for Marre to prepare.
“The information keeps changing,” she said. “It’s all very hard to keep up with, and of course the banks are so busy I haven’t even talked to a loan officer directly.”
The Paycheck Protection Program allows small businesses to borrow from banks 2.5 times their monthly payroll. The interest rate is 1%, and repayment can be deferred for six months or even forgiven. By midday Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tweeted that $1.8 billion in loans had been processed, but the reality is many banks say final approval may take up to 10 days.
“The money is only going to do anybody good if it can come quickly,” Marre said.
The old town school of folk music saw half of its 400 staffers impacted by the economic downturn. They’re set to borrow $1.6 million and expect glitches.
“I am not sure how smoothly it can run given the scale of it,” said Jim Newcomb. “We are expecting it to be in the range of two to four weeks.”
By comparison, the city’s Chicago Resiliency Fund went on line Wednesday. Four thousand businesses have applied for just about every penny of the $100 million currently available.
“We are working around the clock to create this program from scratch,” said Brad McConnell of Accion, the nonprofit administering the loans.
He says money will be released by next week.
“I think the demand will absolutely outstrip the supply at every level,” he said. “City, state and federal, and so we are all working to be fast because entrepreneurs need money now.”
Business people like Marre and McConnell would agree.