payroll protection program

Small San Diego Business Fights Big Banks in Class-Action Suit

Over a week ago, one small business owner applied for a Payroll Protection Program loan through Chase Bank

NBCUniversal, Inc.

The federal government has allocated another $310 billion in loans for small businesses that are set to roll out Monday, but many industry experts worry that the money could run out quickly again.

One small San Diego business owner says he's not waiting around for a lifeline, he's prepared to fight – with one of the biggest banks in America.

Daniel Bussius's 20-year-old marketing firm, In the Mix Productions, is struggling in the pandemic. He's lost 75% of his clients and 50% of his revenue, and has had to lay off 4 of his 5 employees.

Over a week ago, he applied for a Payroll Protection Program loan through Chase Bank.

"We'll make it through this week, but we don't know what's going to happen next week," Bussius said.

He received a mass email from the bank saying the funds were out, but later when he heard that dozens of publicly funded companies received millions of dollars he was angry.

He reached out to the Stalwart Law Group in Los Angeles and joined a class-action lawsuit with nine other southern California businesses against some of the biggest banks in America.

"Once again this turned into a story of corporate greed where these banks funneled the money away from the businesses that needed them," said David Angeloff, an attorney with Stalwart Law Group.

Big banks say the money dried up and they couldn't meet the high demand for loans. The law firm says it could take years to reach a settlement and they know that in that time, some businesses may have to close their doors, but Bussius says he wants justice.

"Someone needs to take to justice these large corporations who are abusing the system. It's already tough enough to be a small business owner, don’t make it any tougher for our survival. Someone has to stand up and fight," Bussius said.

A representative from Chase Bank told NBC 7 he can’t comment specifically about this complaint, but he did say that 60% of the PPP loans the bank gave out in the first round went to companies with fewer than 25 employees.

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