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Small Business Active In PPP, But Fears Persist

Spending funds in 8 weeks a major concern

Keith Griffin

May 27, 2020

An array of $100 bills

The National Federation of Independent Businesses, which is an advocate for small and independent businesses, says the Paycheck Protection Program offered by the Small Business Administration proved popular with its members. They’re concerned about meeting the program’s forgiveness guidelines, though.

“Small businesses continue to face many challenges in operating their business in these difficult times,” said Holly Wade, NFIB director of research & policy analysis. “Congress and the administration have the authority to further lighten the burden for many of their immediate concerns, especially in offering more flexibility for PPP loans.”

Key findings from the survey include:

The majority of small businesses expect their expenses to be forgiven.

  • Over half (54%) of owners with a PPP loan are expecting all of their expenses to be forgiven.
  • Twenty-seven percent of borrowers expect at least 75% or more of loan expenses to be forgiven.
  • Very few PPP borrowers are interested in using the funds as a low interest, two-year loans.

Complying with the PPP loan and loan forgiveness terms and conditions is challenging for small businesses.

  • Twelve percent of borrowers report that spending the PPP loan within an 8-week forgiveness period is very difficult and 34% find the requirement somewhat difficult.
  • Almost one-in-five borrowers find the forgiveness requirement that the borrower’s employee headcount match the pre-crisis employee headcount very difficult to reach since many businesses have already laid-off workers due to slower sales or suspended business activity.
  • Another 28% find it somewhat difficult to maintain or return to their pre-crisis workforce level.
  • The 75% payroll rule is difficult for 38% of small business borrowers to manage as 14% find it very difficult and 24% find it somewhat difficult

Owners have questions about how to spend the funds.

  • Nearly three-fourths of small business borrowers find the terms and conditions of the PPP loan difficult to understand with 22% finding them very difficult.

Additional financial support over the next 12 months may be needed for many small business owners.

  • Almost one-quarter of those who have taken out one or both loans anticipate that they will need additional support and another 54% do not know yet. Only 20% of borrowers do not anticipate needing additional support.

Some small business owners find themselves competing with the unemployment benefits offered through the CARES Act.

  • Eighteen percent of small business owners have had an employee decline a job offer because they wanted to stay on UI.
  • Another 6% of owners have increased salaries to encourage a worker to come back to their job.
  • Five percent of small business owners said that an employee has remained in their job because they also received supplemental UI benefits with reduced hours.

The full survey is available here.

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