Local small businesses having difficulty getting emergency loans from SBA

Local small businesses having difficulty getting emergency loans from SBA

ATLANTA — Congress has budgeted $350 billion in emergency aid for small businesses to help fund crucial aspects of business such as payroll and rent.

But several metro Atlanta businesses said they are finding delays in applying for help.

On Monday, an official at one of the big banks told Channel 2 investigative reporter Justin Gray while they have taken thousands of applications for loan, no money has gone out the door yet. They're still waiting on the federal government.

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Federico Castelluci owns seven Atlanta restaurants and employs 300 people. He told Gray he’s not counting on ever seeing the money he applied for thru the paycheck protection program.

He said the emergency federal aid would be a huge help.

“That allows you to pay a lot of staff and stay afloat and pay your landlord, so they can stay afloat,” Castelluci said. “I’m not super optimistic.”

The Small Business Administration just launched the $350 billion program on Friday.

But banking giant Wells Fargo already posted to its website that, “Given the exceptionally high volume of requests we have already received, we will not be able to accept any additional requests.”

The same thing happened with Gray checked with Bank of America. Other big banks like Chase and Citi said they still aren't even accepting applications yet.

“I think it’s going to be a challenge getting the loans processed,” said personal injury attorney Jonathan Johnson.

He told Gray that he has shifted his practice to helping businesses apply for the loans.

“I would analogize it to trying to put a fire hose through a drinking straw,” Johnson said.

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Florida, sent a letter Sunday to the Small Business Administration, saying: “I am receiving reports of small businesses who are simply unable to begin applying.”

Castelluci said he did successfully submit an application for his restaurants. Now, he is waiting on the bank and the SBA.

“It has been, I would say, extremely challenging,” Castelluci said.

Gray attempted to contact the SBA at their Washington and Atlanta offices to see when people can start getting decisions and seeing money. They have not responded so far.