Confusion, Delays Surround Fed's Small Business Stimulus Package

The CARES Act was designed to get money to workers fast, but has become a new source of anxiety for many small business owners

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More than a week after getting the green light to apply for federal assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program in the CARES Act, many small business owners are still waiting to receive an application from their lender to move forward.

The government’s paycheck protection program, or PPP, has nearly $350 billion set aside for qualifying small businesses that can only access the funds through their bank.

But gaining access to those funds has become increasingly frustrating for business owners.

Mike and Kristin Curran who own “Cup Of Yo” frozen yogurt in Coronado and Point Loma are starting to believe they'll get left behind.

The Currans had to close their business last month due to COVID-19 fears and precautions.

“We would love to bring the employees back, it’s just sort of excruciating right now. We live off the money too” Mike Curran said.

The Currans, who bank with Wells Fargo, were initially denied a request for a PPP application after the bank, which is the 3rd largest bank in the U.S. by assets, said it had reached the maximum number of applicants.

This was due to an asset cap placed on Wells Fargo by the Federal Reserve following the bank’s fake account scandal in which it opened millions of phony accounts for customers without their knowledge or permission.

Later this week, the Federal Reserve modified the asset cap it imposed on Wells Fargo so the bank can participate in the government’s business lending programs.

Members of Congress have urged patience in recent days saying the PPP has already provided roughly $70 billion in relief to small businesses across the country and additional legislation could add more money to the program.

Still, to date, the Currans have only been placed on a waiting list for an application.

“I mean, we’ve applied to get an application, there’s no telling what that means,” Mike Curran said.

Kristin Curran says it feels like they’re jumping through hoops that don’t go anywhere and while they’ll keep searching for answers on their own, the confusion about the program is only adding to their financial anxiety.

“We would like to open back up and be a light in the neighborhood like we used to be,” said Kristin Curran. “But, we’re still falling between the regulations and waiting. We’re just waiting”.

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