When will federal loans arrive? Local businesses worry not soon enough

Small businesses fighting for relief

COVINGTON, Ky. (FOX19) - Rich’s Proper Food and Drink in Covington is one of hundreds of small Tri-State businesses fighting to stay open during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bill Whitlow is the business’s owner.

“Keeping the doors open and keeping everybody working, that is the biggest concern for us right now," Whitlow told FOX19 NOW on Thursday.

That concern undoubtedly ebbed last week for Whitlow and many business-owners like him when President Trump signed a $2.3 trillion aid package designed to keep the economy afloat while the virus plays itself out.

A portion of that bill -- $300 billion -- is designed to help small businesses. But it appears banks are having some problems moving that money out the door.

The reasons for that are threefold: the demand is unprecedented; the technology used to process the applications is completely overwhelmed; and bankers are increasingly afraid of the risk in issuing the loans that are sold as potential grants in the program.

Northern Kentucky Chamber President Brent Cooper hears the frustration.

“The system is not designed to handle these kind of numbers," he explained. "The banks are during the best they can. They are working with the Small Business Administration. I litterally just got off the phone with the SBA. They informed me that about $100 billion of the $300 billion has allocated. So the money is going out, it is just slower than we would like to see.”

FOX19 NOW received confirmation from both Senator Rob Portman and Congressman Steve Chabot the $100 billion figure

Cooper says the SBA reiterated that help is coming.

“But people need to be patient, and they do not need to be scared," he said. "They will get this money and they will be able to hire back the people that have been furloughed or laid off. Hopefully they will enable them to be a little bit stronger when we come out of the recession. That is what we are hoping.”

Cooper recommends businesses like Whitlow’s go through there band or the SBA website to get the loans.

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