A local group of San Diego County small business owners are expressing outrage and frustration after their failed efforts to secure a loan through the federal government’s initial $350 billion dollar Paycheck Protection Program or PPP.
Their frustration was only amplified when they learned much of the money went to larger businesses, dozens of them publicly traded companies, with hundreds of employees.
“From what I’ve seen, to mishandle over $300 billion, is just insane. How can that happen,” said Larry White, who owns Signature Towing in Chula Vista.
White has owned his business for three years, and currently has four employees. He’s worried he’ll soon have to lay off his workers unless he’s able to secure a loan.
“They’ve dedicated their lives to us, to work for our companies, to help us build a future, but yet we’re denying them that opportunity if we have to lay them off or let them go. It’s a sad truth, but that’s where we’re headed if we don’t get this money,” said White.
White says he applied for and was approved for a loan through his banker JP Chase Morgan earlier in the month. But the day after the loan program opened up, all funding was gone.
In an email, Chase said “we will continue to monitor congressional actions for a new round of funding for the program. We also will keep processing as many applications as possible so we will be ready to submit them if new funding becomes available.”
In a show of solidarity, White was joined at his tow yard by several other small business owners with the same frustrations over losing out on loan money to larger companies.
“They’re bigger, they have a bigger bank account then we do. I sound selfish, I’m sorry, but you know what? These guys are all small businesses,” said Denise Loeder.
Loeder has owned Glenn’s Body Shop in National City for 15 years. She currently has five employees.
“Everybody is at a very low point. Some are already closing their doors. We have others where their employees are trying to get unemployment, and they’re not getting any money,” said Loeder.
The small business owners say their hopeful congress will approve new funding for the PPP program later this week. But given recent history, they’re not overly confident the money will ever reach them, which could spell disaster for their businesses.
“You have to remain optimistic, but it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen, you can only hope and pray,” said White.