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Small-Business Loans Face Delays Even as Coronavirus Program Expands

Most employers who applied for loans under the coronavirus stimulus package are still waiting for their funds. 

Business advocates and banking industry officials claim not many business owners have seen a check from the Paycheck Protection Program, funded with $350 billion to assist small business owners with payroll during the pandemic. 

“There are very few business owners who have successfully gotten the money,” Amanda Ballantyne, executive director of the Main Street Alliance, told The Wall Street Journal. “Money isn’t flowing yet.”

The loan program was initially open to business owners with 500 or fewer employees, but expanded Friday to include independent contractors and self-employed workers. 

Banks have complained about lack of guidance related to the loans. The platform has also malfunctioned, crashing several times since its launch. 

While the U.S., so far, has approved 661,000 for employers totaling $168 billion, it remains to be seen how quickly funds will be distributed. 

“The sheer volume of people trying to get into the system at the same time overwhelmed it,” Paul Merski, group executive vice president of the Independent Community Bankers of America, told The Journal.