The shutdown is over, but some small businesses are still struggling to move forward
The partial government shutdown is over. Yet for small business owners who are waiting for loans, time is running out.
The government shutdown closed some agencies, including the Small Business Administration, for 35 days.
Now that the SBA has finally reopened, it faces a backlog of loans to process.
Protesters rally against a partial government shutdown during a protest organized by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, the United States, Thursday, January 10, 2019.
Alex Wroblewski | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The Consumer Bankers Association has set the tally of outstanding loans at around 300 for each closing day, or around $ 2 billion in loans, according to a letter he sent to President Donald Trump and Congressional leaders on January 22. The partial closure began on December 22.
The SBA works with lenders to process and secure small business financing. The agency does not lend money directly. It does, however, set guidelines for lending with the aim of reducing risks for lenders and making capital more accessible to small businesses.
Lawmakers agreed on Jan.25 to keep government open for three weeks, or until Feb.15. Since then, the SBA has been working to catch up.
“The SBA has assigned additional staff to ensure loans are processed as quickly as possible,” said an SBA spokesperson. “In the last week alone, the SBA processed thousands of loans totaling over $ 1 billion for US small businesses.”
It may take some time to reverse the lingering effects of the shutdown.
“Small businesses are going to be the first place you’re going to see the impact, because a lot of these loans stop as soon as they close,” said David Pommerehn, associate general counsel and senior vice president of the Consumer Bankers Association. .
Some small business owners are still waiting to have checks in hand.
Carlos Chavira, left, and his sister, Nohely, co-founders of Pancho’s Taqueria.
This includes Carlos Chavira, who owns a restaurant in Dedham, Massachusetts called Pancho’s Taqueria with his sister, Nohely. Together, they opened their first location several years ago.
Last year they signed a lease for a second restaurant in nearby Needham.
However, they still need funding to open this new location. And while the six-figure sum they were looking for has been pre-approved by a bank, they are still waiting to receive a check in their hands.
This is making Chavira nervous about the next February 15th deadline.
“Hopefully we’ll be approved by then and don’t have to wait a little longer,” Chavira said.
If you own a small business and are facing a shortfall from closing, either because of a wait for loans or because of a loss of business, financial experts say there is has a few key considerations to keep in mind.
“For a small business owner, liquidity is key,” said Greg Ghodsi, managing director of 360 Wealth Management, a division of Raymond James. “When cash runs out, it makes it almost impossible to run the business day to day.”
Many banks continued to process SBA loans during the shutdown, although final SBA approval had to wait. Bank of America is one of those institutions.
“Is it frustrating for the borrower? Yes, but we were able to work with all of our borrowers,” said Chris Ward, manager of small business loans at Bank of America.
The bank continued with other lending activities, such as unsecured lines of credit, term loans, equipment loans and small business cards, Ward said.
Last year, Bank of America took out about $ 8.6 billion in new small business loans; about $ 400 million were SBA-related loans.
One thing small business owners should watch out for: According to the Consumer Bankers Association, the traditional business loans they take out don’t conflict with their plans to take out SBA loans. Check if there is a “credit elsewhere“SBA loan program requirement that could prohibit you from taking out traditional loans or temporary bridging loans.
Small business owners who want access to capital can look to non-bank loans.
If you decide to go this route, you need to be extremely careful about which lender you choose and carefully consider the terms and information, said Joyce Klein, director of FIELD in the Aspen Institute’s Economic Opportunities Program.
There is a range of products that you can access online, from installment loans to lines of credit. And their terms may require daily payments through your bank account or take a certain percentage of merchant transactions.
More from Personal Finance:
A key tax deduction for teleworkers has disappeared. Here are some options for pain relief
Over 8,000 investors have been misled by this $ 1.2 billion Ponzi scheme. Here’s how to spot fraud
Cancer patient denied student loan relief despite being eligible
“You have to be very careful,” Klein said. “It can be difficult to understand how the pricing of capital, the capital payment structure, the prepayment of capital requirements, relate to your cash flow and financing needs.”
You can also face high financing costs even if you pay off the loan sooner than expected.
The risks of non-bank lending prompted the Aspen Institute and some lending agencies to form a Small Business Borrower Bill of Rights. The document sets out the rights borrowers should have and a set of standards of practice for lenders and brokers. It also includes a list of participating financial institutions.