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Tulsa Businesses Share Experience with PPP Loans

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Posted at 4:47 PM, Apr 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-14 20:20:12-04

Red Dog Construction, Two Men and a Truck, 3S Hotels Group and R Bar & Grill are still up and running thanks to the Small Business Administration Payment Protection Program.

Bart Boatright with Red Dog Construction says even though his business is considered "essential" in Oklahoma, his crew still lost jobs due to COVID-19.

The PPP loan is a way to offset that loss of work.

"It was very necessary. We were going to have to furlough or lay people off, and we felt like it was a real lifesaver to have that happen," said Boatright about the loan approval.

Romel Chatterjee owns 3S Hotels Group in Tulsa and with the travel and tourism market significantly down, he thought he was going to have to close some of his properties before the PPP loan.

"I think we would have probably had to shutdown a couple of our hotels because after the first week of March, we saw a steady decline and then some of it just fell off," Chatterjee said. "I mean we’ve been doing this 20 years and I’ve never seen a situation like this."

Adam Baker with Stride Bank is both Boatright and Chatterjee's lender.

He tells 2 Works for You that the loans have been a learning curve with constant updates and changes during the rollout, but his team has been working around the clock to make them happen.

"What they’re trying to do is keep people employed, keep businesses open and when this does pass and when businesses are allowed to fully reopen, they have their employees, they have their customers, they have their vendors. What we don’t want to have happen is businesses shutdown and not be able to reopen," Baker said.

Some larger banks are having issues at the onset of the PPP rollout.

According to NBC News, Wells Fargo, one of the largest lenders in the country initially hitting the cap of $10 billion last week, announced they would limit loan approvals.

The Federal Reserve has temporarily loosened the cap for the bank since then.

As of April 14, Stride Bank issued 340 application approvals and saved 6,000 jobs in Green Country.

Even with the ever-changing guidelines and approval processes, lenders say the response from the SBA has been quick.

"To their credit, they got them out in less than a week. Usually something like this would take up to 6 months, a year," Baker said.

According to the SBA website, the Payment Protection Program loans will “will be fully forgiven if the funds are used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities.”

However, 75 percent must be used for payroll to be forgiven.

The SBA website also says that forgiveness will be reduced if you do not abide by those requirements.

The small business owners we talked to say they understand the requirements and are willing to take the leap to protect those they value most.

"You don’t know it until you have to start thinking about that. How do you handle a layoff like that? And in our case, we were very fortunate it didn’t have to happen," Boatright said.

If you're a small business that needs a PPP loan, reach out to your bank and find out if you qualify.

For more information from the Small Business Administration, click here.

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