GREAT FALLS — More financial help is on its way to business owners around the nation, including in Montana, after the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) got a big boost Friday to the tune of $310 billion.
President Donald Trump signed the bill Friday that authorizes an additional $310 billion in funds for the program, which offers forgivable, 1% interest loans for companies with a maximum of 500 employees.
That's on top of the $350 billion that was loaned out in the first round of the program in a mere two weeks. The loans are forgivable in full if the companies use 75% of the federally backed money on paying and retaining their employees.
But financial experts say the additional money authorized by Congress is not going to stick around long.
“This money - we expect it to go very, very fast,” said Jolene Schalper with Great Falls Development Authority (GFDA). Schalper says money from the first round of funding ran out in just five business days.
Banks opened to the second round of applications Monday morning and Schalper says business owners and sole proprietors must act quickly.
“They need that money especially those smaller main street businesses,” she said. “And so, they’re very concerned about getting in on it now.”
Schalper says there’s no minimum for those applying for funds, “there’s a lot of banks across our region that I know for a fact are doing under $10,000.”
PPP funds are allocated based on payroll with Schalper explaining that says the program is meant to help businesses get back on their feet.
“Upon close of the loan, if you utilize all of the money within eight weeks of closing, that can be forgivable; it can only be used for payroll expenses because it’s meant to put people back to work but that can be a forgivable loan to really help so you can use resources towards working capital.”
She says applications that didn’t make the deadline last time aren’t prioritized in the second round of funding.
“Bankers are working so hard to make sure your application goes through,” she said. “So, if your bank has your application, I’m sure they are submitting it but again- talk to your bank.”
While some say large corporations cashed in on the first round of funding, Schalper says time has always been key in obtaining funds for any business, no matter the size.
“You look at the resources some of these corporations have,” she said. “So, they were able to act very quickly and get in there.”
For business owners who don’t make this second round of funding- she says do not despair. Banks, the Small Business Administration, and economic development groups like the GFDA are ready to help with options for when the money runs out.
Click here to visit the GFDA website for more information and resources.