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Small businesses uncertain about emergency loan applications

A closed bar in New York on March 19

Small businesses are still waiting on money from the Paycheck Protection Program. Victor J. Blue/Getty Images

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The Small Business Administration’s pandemic emergency lending program has approved more than 1.3 million loan applications. The SBA said those loans are worth almost $300 billion, putting the average under its Paycheck Protection Program at roughly $220,000.

The SBA reported this week that the industry sectors with the most approved loans are construction, manufacturing and technology. Businesses in California, Texas, and Florida are receiving the most money — which makes sense because they’re the three most populous states.

New York is fourth, but it came in behind Illinois. That worries New York City small business commissioner Gregg Bishop.

“What I’m hearing from small businesses is either their bank is not participating because they have a smaller community bank, or their bank got online much later than the rest of the United States,” Bishop said.

Some businesses aren’t sure where their applications are in the process. Ashwin Deshmukh, who owns a cocktail bar in Manhattan, thinks he might have been approved. His bank accepted all his paperwork, but he hasn’t gotten any confirmation.

“I think it’s impossible to tell if anything’s happened until you have the money in your account,” Deshmukh said.

It’s a similar story for Washington D.C. marketing consultant Alexandra Mason, who applied back when the program started.

“I sent in my application and they acknowledged that they have it,” she said. “And then I haven’t heard a thing for a week.”

Mason said until she sees the loan in her business account, she’ll remain skeptical about the SBA program. And she said she’s not the only small business owner to feel that way.

“I’m never going to pooh-pooh a million businesses getting approved,” Mason said. “But you don’t have to look very far. I mean, just look at Twitter, and it’s just scrolls of people saying ‘This isn’t what I’m experiencing.'”

Those small business owners are hoping that their loans get approved as soon as possible. The Wall Street Journal reported today that the SBA program is about to run out of money.

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