From a few thousand dollars to nearly $ 3 million, hundreds of Federal Paycheck Protection Program loans have been guaranteed by businesses, nonprofits and churches throughout the News circulation zone. -Shield throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
An infographic accompanying this story shows how to find P3 loan listings by zip code.
As the pandemic continues, there is good news for Barron County business owners who are still feeling the negative effects.
According to Luke Kempen, director of the Small Business Development Center at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, the United States House of Representatives and Senate have both approved an extension of the deadline for companies to file a second round of PPP loans. .
The bill “will extend the PPP loan application deadline from March 31 to May 31,” Kempen said on Monday, March 29. “As of 1pm today, (President Joe Biden) has yet to sign this law but is expected to do so this week.”
According to Bruce Rasmussen, vice president of commercial banking at CCF Bank, Barron, the latest round of PPP loans will be granted under the following guidelines:
The loan will be fully canceled if the borrowers meet the following conditions within the period (eight to 24 weeks) of getting the money:
• Maintain their existing workforce at its current rate of pay.
• Spend money only on salary costs and “other qualifying expenses” such as mortgage payments or necessary upgrades.
• Spend at least 60 cents of every dollar loaned to pay workers.
Borrowers are eligible for a second loan if they can prove:
• The money they have received has been (or will be) used only for authorized purposes.
• They employ less than 300 workers.
• They can demonstrate a reduction of at least 25% in gross revenue between comparable three-month quarters in 2019 and 2020.
Keep people at work
Born out of an almost complete shutdown of “non-essential” businesses in Wisconsin and the United States, the Paycheck Protection Program was intended to preserve jobs until businesses could reopen. In County Barron, the hardest hit included bars, restaurants and related hotel businesses whose walk-in commerce dried up in mid-March 2020 and only returned to court challenge by the Wisconsin lawmakers was upheld by the state Supreme Court shortly before Memorial Day 2020.
But, in many cases (especially small restaurants), the damage caused during the closure was permanent, leading to the sale or closure of businesses across the region.
By the end of April 2020, three News-Shield circulation zone lenders (WESTconsin Credit Union, Security Bank, Ridgeland and Sterling Bank, Barron) had approved some 500 loans worth tens of millions of dollars to help maintain jobs in companies. , farms, non-profit organizations and (in some cases) even religious congregations.
According to ProPublica, Wisconsin lenders have issued more than 130,000 P3 loans in the past year, of which more than 16,000 have gone to businesses for amounts of $ 150,000 or less. However, ProPublica also reported that 167 Wisconsin borrowers have obtained loans of $ 1 million or more.
“I have been involved in (loans sought by) businesses on Main Street,” said Dave Armstrong, executive director of the Barron County Economic Development Corporation (and also state representative).
“To say that this money was essential to keep them alive is fair,” he added. “I can’t stress enough how much this has helped small businesses, especially those with 10 or fewer employees. The vast majority would not have survived.
Armstrong said one of the approved PPP loans went to the Economic Development Corporation itself. EDC is an independent, non-profit organization operating out of the Barron County Government Center.
Kempen agreed with Armstrong’s assessment.
“Last week I spoke to a restaurant owner in County Barron who used the P3 loan to keep his employees on his payroll,” he said.
“During the shutdown they made take out and other things to try to keep things going until business picks up. She wanted to help her employees by keeping them active and paid and her business going. What she did was exactly what the PPP loans were for.
Local and state sources both said one of the biggest concerns was how to make sure the loan money was spent as planned – especially to save jobs during tough times and prevent workers from losing money. become unemployed.
“I don’t think there was any abuse,” Armstrong said. “Once the federal government starts auditing the loans, there are clawback provisions (in legislation),” he added.
If an audit shows that a borrower did not spend the money as planned, the government has the right to recover the funds, he said.
“But when it comes to generalized auditing, who knows how long it will take? Armstrong said.
Kempen said the next round of loans will be more focused on businesses that can prove they have suffered hardship during the pandemic.
“Unfortunately, in the first round of PPP loans last year, many businesses that continued to thrive… received loans when in hindsight and reality they did not need them,” a- he declared.
Aaron Weber, chairman of Sterling Bank’s Barron branch, said local bank-borrower relationships are an important part of PPP.
“This allowed the program to be implemented quickly and for local businesses to work with local lenders to gain immediate access to funds,” he said. “Approving (loan) applications, monitoring compliance with program requirements, and navigating the PPP forgiveness process will continue to be a joint effort between the SBA and local lending institutions,” he said. -he adds.
Rasmussen said the frequent rule changes have been a frustration for borrowers and lenders, but, even so, “P3 has been a program that has actually helped many small businesses.
“The burden of proof to be responsible for the terms of the loan is on the borrower, however, the lender must also perform a due diligence on the terms,” he added.