CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Lowcountry businesses are hoping to get approved for a second round of Paycheck Protection Program relief loans after the loan portal reopened this week.
The funds are aimed to help small businesses who are impacted by the pandemic. The second round of the federal loans include a total of $284 billion for businesses. That’s about half of what was offered in the first round.
Businesses that applied through community development financial institutions were able to apply on Monday ahead of others. They are lenders to low-income and underserved communities.
First Reliance Bank Chief Administration Officer Ben Brazell says community financial institutions make up about 10% of lenders and the remaining are traditional banks.
“What I take from that is they want to get a head start and make sure that most of the smaller businesses, minority -owned businesses...they want to be able to make sure that this money gets into the hands of those smaller businesses this time before they open that portal up for the banks that would cast a much wider net,” Brazell said.
Applications for second loans were expected to be accepted on Wednesday.
Brazell says the portal is not open at this time for traditional banks, but he’s expecting to be able to access it later this week or early next week.
Isle of Palms business owner Shane Ziegler says his business Barrier Island Eco Tours has taken a hit during the pandemic. He provides naturalist guided boat tours to Caper’s Island State Heritage Park.
“Starting last year when this all hit, we lost our whole school group season and had to return lots of deposits at the same time, so it’s kind of a double whammy,” Ziegler said.
He’s now making about half the amount he made before the pandemic. Ziegler received a federal loan through the first Payment Protect Program to help his businesses. He’s hoping for more funds with the assistance of First Reliance Bank.
There are changes in funding requirements for those applying a second time. They must show that they saw a 25 percent drop in quarterly revenue during the pandemic. They must also have less than 300 employees and can receive up to $2 million.
“When I first applied for the PPP, well it was tough,” Ziegler said.
He’s says another loan will help them get through this season.
“When things warm up and we we’re getting our tourist season back and spring break and the summer business, then we’ll be generating enough revenue to keep us going again but right now times are tough,” Ziegler.
First time borrowers can receive up to $10 million and can have up to 500 employees.
Brazell says if an existing borrower received a loan of $150,000 or less the application process is simpler.
He also says the loans are now open to additional businesses and nonprofits that did not qualify before.
“So we are there to kind of hold our customers hands through this process and help them through this process,” Brazell said. “So, I would certainly say reach out to your financial advisors, your bankers, your accountants to help navigate through this complicated process.”
Restaurants and hotels also have the capacity to receive more funding this round based on how the loans are calculated.
“Some of the biggest impacts have been the restaurants and the hotels and, as you know, we live in Charleston we have a lot of those businesses,” Brazell said.
MORE INFO: Read about the PPP loan requirements.
The Small Business Administration released the following information including key updates to the PPP loan:
- PPP borrowers can set their PPP loan’s covered period to be any length between 8 and 24 weeks to best meet their business needs
- PPP loans will cover additional expenses, including operations expenditures, property damage costs, supplier costs, and worker protection expenditures
- The Program’s eligibility is expanded to include 501(c)(6)s, housing cooperatives, destination marketing organizations, among other types of organizations
- The PPP provides greater flexibility for seasonal employees
- Certain existing PPP borrowers can request to modify their First Draw PPP Loan amount
- Certain existing PPP borrowers are now eligible to apply for a Second Draw PPP Loan.