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Small Business Loan Program Generating A Lot Of Questions From Mainers

Robert F. Bukaty

The small business loan provision of the $2 trillion federal stimulus bill is generating a lot of questions from applicants and from the banking sector. And there are fears that the money dedicated to the program won’t go far enough.

Under the paycheck protection program, the self-employed and businesses with fewer than 500 employees can get a federally guaranteed loan through a bank to pay salaries, rent and other operating costs during the coronavirus pandemic. If they use the money as required by the law, the loan will be forgiven.

“The paycheck protection program which the most sought after forgivable loans that could apply to small businesses and it also actually applies to individuals, the self-employed. So we have been answering questions there nonstop.” U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine says her office is being flooded with questions from businesses and banks.

“People are talking to bankers, they are the frontline on getting these loans. And I think already there is a tremendous amount of worry that there is not enough money in the fund or we can’t get the money out fast enough,” she says.

Congress has set aside nearly $350 billion for the loan fund, but Pingree says it is becoming clear that the demand will exceed that figure.