The Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce (LRCC) is urging the Michigan Congressional Delegation to push for additional funds to be added to a federal program designed to support small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The Payroll Protection Program (PPP) has exhausted the $350 billion, from the $2 trillion CARES Act, to support small business during the COVID-19 crisis. The LRCC call to action seeking additional funds comes following a membership survey that revealed that a significant percentage of businesses still face serious financial difficulties, in many cases despite receiving PPP funds.
“We certainly appreciate the support the federal government has already provided, which was badly needed by businesses that have seen their operations curtailed or shutdown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Steven Japinga, LRCC vice president, public affairs. “At the same time, our members are clearly expressing the need for additional support to help them stay in business after this crisis has subsided.”
In the membership survey conducted over the weekend of April 18, 2020, 32% of members completing the survey said their businesses have experienced significant cash flow issues as a result of COVID-19. 50% said their biggest challenge they will face upon reopening business operations involves liquidity/cash flow issues.33% said they will require additional financial relief.
LRCC also asked small businesses and local financial institutions that have participated in PPP for their suggestions on how to improve the program. Among suggestions were:
- Greater assistance to lenders ensuring they are prepared to provide necessary tools to process applications in a timely manner
- Include additional support to non-profits who were excluded in the original CARES Act
- Provide clarity on calculating loan eligibility and loan forgiveness amounts
- Extend the payback period. Many businesses, especially small businesses will be unable to administer the quick payback while reopening business operations
- Limit restrictions to increase support smallest of small businesses
- The frequency of changes to the program guidelines has been burdensome for lenders to effectively track the loans
- Provide a streamlined more efficient process rather than having each lender establish their own guidelines