Small businesses look for help navigating loan options

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Crimson Cup in Clintonville is drive-through only now and owner Greg Ubert says other parts of the company’s operation have been scaled back as well. Ubert says he plans to bring back furloughed workers as soon as he’s approved for the Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program loan. “From what they tell me the turnaround could be fairly quick,” Ubert says. “I’ve heard maybe a couple of weeks at the outset and then I’ve heard maybe 72 hours.”

Heartland Bank CEO Scott McComb says the application window for the program opened last Friday and the bank expects to fund its first loans Tuesday or Wednesday. “Doing it this quickly as we’ve been asked to do it has provided a challenge as well not only for borrowers but for the financial institutions,” McComb said.

The loans are intended to help small business fund their basic operational costs including payroll through two months. If they successfully keep all their employees on the payroll during that time, the loan won’t have to be repaid.

McComb said financial institutions are still getting guidance from the SBA to make sure they follow all the rules for the forgivable loans. “It has not been as smooth as the financial institutions or the business owners would like to see,” McComb said.

Kathleen Day, owner of Katalina’s restaurant, says while her bank has been very supportive, she’s not sure yet whether an SBA forgivable payroll loan is her best option. “There are just so many questions,” Day said. “I know the government is doing their best to help small businesses right now but with all these intricacies and logistic it’s just so much to understand. Are all of us small business going to get what we need? Are the funds going to run out? “It’s just so open-ended.”

Don DePerro, president of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce says business owners who are unsure about the loans should apply now and decide later.

“Don’t put it off any longer,” DePerro says. “The longer you wait, the longer you’re going to wait in the queue to get these approved.”

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced Tuesday the creation of a new state Office of Small Business Relief. The office is intended to better coordinate Ohio’s efforts to identify and provide support for Ohio’s nearly 950,000 small businesses.

The Office of Small Business Relief will:

  • Serve as the state’s designated agency for administrating federal recovery funds awarded to Ohio for small business support and recovery;
  • Work with federal, state, and local partners to evaluate and determine possible regulatory reforms that encourage employment and job creation; and
  • Coordinate efforts of Ohio’s Small Business Development Centers and Minority Business Assistance Centers.

More information on all resources currently available to small businesses is available at coronavirus.ohio.gov/BusinessHelp

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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