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Missouri Small Businesses Struggle to Receive Emergency Loans

With the recent re-openings of businesses and stores during the era of social distancing, many small business owners are struggling to get emergency loans they need from the Small Business Administration and other lending sources. According to a study from the National Federation of Independent Businesses Research Center, about three-quarters of small business owners have submitted an application for a paycheck protection loan loan as of April 17. About one-in-five of submitted applications have been fully processed, leaving nearly 80% waiting, many not knowing where they are in the process. The large demand on the Small Business Association and other business lenders has slowed their operations to a halt.

“Never did they ever dream that they would have as many loans in the last three to four months as they probably have done in the last 10 years. So, you know, there's been some infrastructure issues that I know have been frustrating to small business owners,” says Missouri NFIB State Director Brad Jones. “For a lot of small business owners, I know a lot of them aren't thrilled about taking federal assistance. But to help them survive this particular downturn, they definitely appreciate it.”

These loans are essential to businesses hit hard by the coronavirus, since the funds are often used to supplement lowered income, and cover the expenses of resuming operation. Nearly 40 percent of small business owners surveyed had submitted an application for a loan from the Small Business Administration, but only 10 percent have received the funds.

Despite the difficulties, Jones is hopeful for the future of small businesses. “I mean, there's a lot of lessons that have been learned. We've got so many small business people that have adjusted and have juked and jived to keep themselves open, and change how they interact with their customers. And it's not all bad. Some small businesses are finding that it actually works. So there are little tiny, bright light at the end of the tunnel here. We're going to come out of this and I think we're going to come out of it pretty strong.”