Nearly two-in-three successfully submitted PPPL applications, but none have received EIDL emergency grants
The severity of economic disruptions in the small business sector is quickly increasing the immediate demand for financial assistance among small business owners. NFIB’s Small Business Economic Trends survey highlighted the rapid decline in the small business sector with the largest monthly decline in small business optimism in the survey’s history. The economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and associated policy responses has negatively impacted 90% of small business owners.
The NFIB Research Center’s latest survey focused on the two main COVID-19 related small business loan programs. The survey highlights the strong demand for financial assistance among small business owners and how owners are navigating the initial rollout of the two loan programs. The two loan programs are the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) that was expanded and funded through the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act. Both loan programs offer generous eligibility to help support most small business owners. However, the programs have yet to deliver the loans, frustrating small business owners who are in immediate need of financial support.
In Sioux Falls, Scott Pirlet is using the Personal Paycheck Program funds to keep all of his employees working. Business is down at Home Definitions, a home theatre and instillation company. With social distancing in place, people are hesitant to let Pirlet’s employees into their homes to re-wire and connect lighting and home automation. Pirlet’s store is also closed to the public, so he’s anticipating a dismal 2nd quarter revenue.
Scott Pirlet poses outside his Sioux Falss small business, Home Definition.
Pirlet applied for the PPP loan program last Friday, the first day applications were accepted, closed on the loan Wednesday and had the money in his account yesterday. It’s the peace of mind he was looking for to keep his business afloat until he can re-open his store and sales pick up.
“I’m fortunate that my guys still have some work to do, but it’s been slow and I was afraid of the uncertainty in the coming weeks. However, with the Paycheck Protection Program money, I can keep all of my employees on board. I’ll keep them busy with catch up work until my customers come back. I know they will – I just needed the liquid capitol to stay afloat until then,” said Pirlet.
“The small business community has done their part completing the paperwork and submitting it to their banks. While I am thrilled that Scott Pirlet has received his loan – he is one of very few South Dakota small business owners to see money in the bank,” said NFIB State Director in South Dakota, Lindsey Ritter-Rap. “Now is the time for the federal government to get all small business owners the money they desperately need to keep their doors open. If they fail to act quickly, many South Dakota businesses many have to shut down permanently.”
One of Scott’s employees shows off the golf simulators his small business installs in customer’s homes. However, thanks to the coronavirus outbreak, his customers have been hesitant to let Scott’s employees inside and business has slowed.
The new PPP loan program gained strong interest among small business owners and has been widely advertised in the news, by the Administration, and advocacy groups including NFIB. The vast majority (93%) of small business owners are familiar with the program. About 70% of small business owners tried to apply for the loan with varying degrees of success. Of the 30% who have not actively tried to apply, one-third of them plan to in the next month and 36% are considering it.
About 72% of those who tried to apply for a PPP loan were successful in submitting their application. However, some banks are pre-screening applicants before having them fill out the full application, so it is unclear how many have successfully applied or have just completed the first step in a longer process. Twenty-eight percent of small business owners were not successful in applying for a PPP loan.
The vast majority of small business owners (84%) who successfully submitted their application have a checking or savings account with the bank. Just under half of successful applicants have an active loan with the bank and another 24% have a business credit card associated with the bank. Only 1% of successful applicants applied at a bank with which they had no previous association. Most banks that are participating in the program and facilitating these loans are only taking applicants from current customers.
Of the 28% of small business owners who were not successful, most of them (68%) are waiting for their bank to start accepting PPP loans. Nine percent of them are not able to find a participating bank, which is likely due to their own bank not participating. Five percent of owners trying to apply for the loan were told by their bank that it had hit their limit of accepting loans. This issue may have been eliminated on April 8, 2020, with the regulators allowing Wells Fargo to exceed their previously placed cap on loan origination. Another 5% found the process too complicated to proceed.
The survey also asked about participation in the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. The EIDL program is slightly less known among small business owners than the PPP loan program with three-fourths of them familiar with the EIDL. About half of small business owners have applied for an EIDL loan, 45% have not, and another 5% tried but the SBA website was not working at the time.
Almost all those who applied for the EIDL loan requested the emergency EIDL grant of up to $10,000. The design of the emergency grant was to provide immediate financial assistance as the full loan was being processed.
Of those who applied for the EIDL loan, just 4% have been approved and 1% not approved. Most applicants of the EIDL have yet to receive an update on the statues of their application and no small business applicants have received the loan or the emergency grant.
About three-quarters of small business owners found the EIDL application process generally easy, but they are growing increasingly frustrated with the processing of these loans and a lack of communication about when they can expect to receive money if their loan is approved. Ten percent of applicants found it difficult submitting the application online due to technology issues related to the SBA website and another 8% had problems filling out the application.
Both the EIDL and PPP loans are of great interest to small business owners with large numbers of them applying for one or the other and often both. The financial need is immediate and small business owners are now in a holding pattern, waiting for their loan as economic conditions worsen for many.
This survey was conducted with a random sample of NFIB’s membership database of about 300,000 small business owners. The survey was conducted by email on April 6-7, 2020. NFIB collected 884 usable responses.