Poquoson independent contractor says smallest of businesses face problems accessing federal loans

Business

POQUOSON, Va. (WAVY) — If your small business was left behind in the initial round of coronavirus relief funding from the CARES Act, you may have another shot.

On Monday morning, the Small Business Administration’s emergency coronavirus lending program reopened after Congress pumped in an additional $310 billion. The first wave of funding, providing $349 billion, ran out in less than a week.

With many businesses still desperate for aid, industry experts speculate this next wave of funding could run out even faster.

The smaller your business, it seems the more difficult it can be to access the funds.

10 On Your Side spoke with Al Brodersen, independent contractor from Poquoson. For nearly four decades, Brodersen has worked with food service equipment, servicing hospitals, schools and restaurants from Williamsburg to Suffolk. When the shutdowns began, his business ground to a halt.

When the first wave of federal funding for small business loans was released, Brodersen applied.

“I sent it to my bank, and my bank said ‘we’re not accepting any unless you had a business account prior to February 15,’ which I did not have,” explained Brodersen. “I just had regular savings accounts and checking accounts. What am I supposed to do? I didn’t have a business account, no one told me I needed one. I do have a business license.” 

Brodersen isn’t alone.

Some larger banks won’t process applications unless you already have a business account with them. With the sheer volume of requests, bank officials say it makes the process easier to vet applicants.

Brodersen says this practice favors larger businesses.

“It’s just not fair to the small businessperson. We have to survive. The big people have other avenues and investments, etc. We don’t. We’re small business people. We have to survive this,” he said.

As a way to combat this issue, the new funding bill includes $60 billion dollars for small lenders. This is meant to help small community banks serve smaller companies.

As for Brodersen, he eventually found a large bank to accept his application. Now it’s a waiting game to see if the funding he desperately needs will come through.


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