Banks across the country were so inundated with applications for a new forgivable loan program for small businesses hit hard by coronavirus closures that the Small Business Administration’s system crashed for hours Monday, further complicating an already rocky roll-out.
Despite President Donald Trump’s assertions that the loan program’s launch was “flawless,” small business owners have complained of delays and confusion since the application process began Friday and some have said they were turned away from banks who are struggling to keep up with applications from their existing customers.
“The banks weren’t set up for this and the S.B.A. wasn’t either,” Norman Eng, a public affairs specialist with the administration’s Massachusetts office, told Jim Braude on WGBH News’ Greater Boston Monday.
“We are ramping up infrastructure to be able to accept these loans,” he added. “Even though there were some kinks and some flaws in the first couple days, things are getting moving now.”
Eng said that thousands of loan applications had already been approved in the state on Monday, “from pizza shops to non-profits to local hardware stores.”
As more businesses claim a piece of the $349 billion program — which was allotted as part of the $2 trillion federal coronavirus stimulus package — Eng also addressed fears that money could run out before every business’s needs are met.
“The money is going very quickly, but there’s a possibility that there could be new legislation to add more money to this,” Eng said.
For more information on the loan program and other disaster assistance, head to the Small Business Administration’s website.