Fundera Update 5/6/2020
Fundera.com, a site recommended by Azlo.com and the Covidtracker.com which my application languished at for about a month sent out an update today suggesting those not with a PPP loan yet should apply for one with Bluevine.com. You will learn in this ongoing updating post that I too recommend Bluevine.com. I got my loan fully processed with them about 2 weeks ago.
Paypal PPP Update 4/30/2020
Since posting I received an email from Loanbuilder.com / Paypal’s SBA PPP Loan program. Due to processing limits at the SBA they expect it to take about 7 days before their applications are all transmitted. That doesn’t mean approved or funded … thats transmitted. I suppose this is an attempt to make it appear as if the funds lasted longer?
That is really the best visual. The PPP loan program has proven again to resemble a child’s pinata, where you are blindfolded, and on roller skates. Funds are back on but this first day of the second round doesn’t seem to have changed anything but the alarming rate of bad news. Funds were projected to be out in 2 days.
What PPP Has Been Like For This Small Business
Its been like, nothing. I don’t mean nothing compares, that’s not true. I have plenty of comparisons. Ever been bullied as a kid and ignored by an adult? A friend of mine once went to an anti-KKK rally with me and we got split up, somehow he found himself on the pro-KKK side. Asking for directions from dismissive police, surrounded by the KKK, when I found him he was just in tears … that is a comparison. It’s been like … absolutely nothing is happening.
Some are getting funds, just not small businesses. Like Harvard with their 10 million, or Shake Shack with their millions. Ultimate SEO of course has applied both in the first round and now in the second round for about .0000001% of the money being offered.
The Pressures Mounting On Small Business
Things aren’t the end of the world here. But as a B2B business I’ve had a decline in revenue from about 1/3 in March and April from Nov and Decembers numbers… with no additional clients or contracts in recent months. Any contract projects where others are assisting me, I have on hold. So are any bills I should pay. Folks just aren’t worried about their websites at this time, and rightly so.
I’ve spoken with contractors that I had working various projects and told them if the loan comes they’ll get X dollars. I had one who explained his rent, money he owes family and asked for a dollar amount. I told him I get it and I’d see what I could do.
Another contract laborer I have is in the same boat but he’s a survivor. He could use help but in the end if he needs it he’ll go out and take what he needs. I can’t blame him necessarily at this moment. Why tell someone to wait for the system if it seems that isn’t working.
I’ve helped them and others apply for unemployment but that’s a big delay and an uncertain duration as well as unreliable across state lines.
It’s good to focus on others problems too. It helps distract me from my conversations with my own landlord. Who has indicated the second they can start evictions they will kick any and all out. (Update: Actually they are still attempting evictions, just filing injunctions barring people from the property. Creative, but pretty despicable)
CARES Act PPP Application Process
Which PPP Application process are we talking about? Each one seems to be a different road to nowhere.
My Business Bank: Azlo Bank while it may be a business bank it oddly doesn’t have an SBA relationship and so it has directed customers to Fundera.com which itself doesn’t appear to be a bank and navigating its process leads to … nothing.
Best PPP Advice
One lender gave the best advice I think…they said thanks for the application … this process is a mess and there is limited money so go out and apply again and again from as many lenders as possible.
It’s hard though to apply through traditional banks when they often require you to open an account with them and don’t have that ability for business banking online. The physical locations are by appointment only and you have no idea what criteria they will want. I figured I’d stick with the online lenders as I can’t physically visit and schedule in person meetings as easily.
SBA Loans For Large Corporations
This scenario creates a huge issue I think, as it appears traditional banks wont process loans for new customers. Bank of America has been so strict they wont process PPP loans for existing customers with accounts also at other banks. It’s a loyalty perk for them. So much for being the bank of America.
I guess even being a customer of Bank of America doesn’t help you get an SBA loan from BOA. Rather than first come, first serve they prioritized the highest loans first leaving the smallest businesses out of luck. Course someone is suing Bank of America now and that I hope gets them some money.
Bank of America is not the only example of greed or exclusivity. Digimarc, a publicly traded corporation valued at $197 million got there money, MiMedx Group (MDXG.PK) another publicly traded corporation valued at $420 million has it’s $10 million in small business funds. This doesn’t seem to be an exceptional thing … large corporations who were favored by large banks got a large chunk of all the funds. These companies have said they do not intend to return the funds, unlike Shake Shack.
Like who at the Los Angeles Lakers thought it would be good optics for them to apply and receive SBA loans?
Big Banks Get Put On Ice
Wednesday, the 3rd day of the second round the SBA shut out big banks to ensure small banks could do some lending. I’m just not sure why that’s necessary with the limits in place. The second round has included a limit of submissions per bank to about 500 an hour. Obviously that helps smaller outfits where they can process a thousand loans in a couple hours wheres a large bank with 500,000 applications would need 1000 hours to get their loans in. But in the end I applaud both of these methods, the PPP program so far has seemed rather unsmall business.
Consider CovidLoanTracker.com data and you can see the issue. From the self reported 25,599 loan applications with an average employee count of 9 (actual small businesses) … representing 159,000 jobs, only 10% have received anything. $550,000,000 applications are awarded … the program was for 600 BILLION. The average loan requested was $78,000. No where close to the 10 million limit that large companies took to the max.
Now granted the sample size may be limited, and it is … but its telling that of these actual small businesses we can account for about half a percent of the program funds.
The Treasury has indicated that at first ever loan for 2 million and higher would be audited, and that’s awesome! Now they are saying everyone will be audited which is really annoying … a business taking a $7000 loan for instance is now going to be audited? Somehow he think the small loans are more likely the legit ones to begin with, but sure lets audit everyone.
What’s it like being a small business in the PPP process?
Kabbage.com was another suggestion from Azlo I believe, either way they like Fundera seem unable to make progress on the application. This image above is how it’s looked for the last couple weeks. Occasionally I log in and they have added more questions and prompt for that additional info, nothing specific to my application just new blanket questions for everyone.
I went to Nav.com and originally this route seemed messed up the most. I had completed an application and downloaded those documents but after reviewing the documents they aren’t even legible. They quickly caught up but not the way I expected … they finally told me to apply with Smartbizloans.com. I did, but why did I tell them everything to just tell someone else, or why didn’t their application get forwarded to their partner? I wasted time applying through them.
Smartbiz was fairly quick to apply for and I’ve done everything I needed too, now we wait in review status … where its been for about a week. I’m prequalified and vetted by Nav.com but still not happening.
UPDATE ON SMARTBIZLOANS: My application there apparently stalled out over a request for a Voided color check. Now I did provide a letter from Azlo confirming the info they were seeking but apparently the check is more real. Unfortunately I dont write checks, haven’t made one yet and only gotten one in the two years I’ve been in business.
So to meet their need which has delayed the application for 2 days I had to produce a check using software. Onlinecheckwriter.com is a cool service, allowing one to design their check and they print and mail it for you. Integrates with Quickbooks and if I had to write checks they’d be how I did it. Now armed with a digital copy of a color check I was able to get that loan moving again. But it seemed nonsensical to require an image of something that doesn’t exist when they already had the information verifiably from the bank.
Nav also matched me with Cross Rivers Bank. I completed their application after already doing Navs and got a just wait for a bit message only to get an email from Nav saying that Cross Rivers Bank had changed their process and application and I needed to reapply. They had a spreadsheet that needed filling out for their deprecated process.
I read that Paypal was approved for PPP loans so I went there and applied. They are doing theirs under loanbuilder.com actually who appears to be Swift Bank. This one seems to have been the closest one to the finish line, but again I’m in the waiting mode. I contacted them and asked what else I needed to do and they said nothing just patience. They included a spreadsheet that needed filling out thats exclusive to their process.
So I keep logging into Fundera.com and Kabbage.com but suspect that they are just going to point me to someone else possibly if anything. Azlo Bank has proven to be a dud for business, how they aren’t able to process SBA loans and be a business only bank I have NO idea.
At some point and I don’t know where I was sent to Bluevine.com and their PPP Program only to be told I don’t qualify as a small business. WTF? You guys apparently have less of a clue than anyone.
I returned to Bluevine a few days later but couldn’t reapply contradicting their statement above. But using a different email address I was successful in getting a loan application through to them and through their underwriting process which became, to my knowledge the first application I entered to actually be submitted to the SBA.
Update: 5/2/2020 – Spoiler — Bluevine Application was funded. They needed a second try but were quickest once they got going. After the funds had been deposited I received an email from Smartbizloans.com letting me know they didn’t think my contractor payments ( 1099 ) could count and questioned the business structure of the company. This was after they had taken days to question the deposit account and required me to fabricate a check. I thanked them and told them Bluevine signed off on it, and the SBA had agreed with them and the funds had been deposited so I appreciated their take on things.
Why not use my personal bank?
Capital One PPP appears to require you to physically visit a branch. Which is funny cause their Capital One 360 accounts are online only and they don’t have a branch within this state.
Is There Work With No Clients For Workers?
Yes! There’s always been a ton of work to do at Ultimate SEO there’s just never been the full funds available. As client projects take precedent and bring in the revenue other growth and scalable projects lay in wait.
So with the PPP I can put folks to work on stuff I need done but the trick is getting through a process that’s not really designed to help small businesses.
Not To Forget What Is Important During Coronavirus
Health and life … livelihood is second. I don’t care if my landlord kicks me out the second they can, Id explained the PPP loan scenario. I’ve been here for years and but their aggressive policies with crippling fees can be someone else’s issue. The neighbors I have are WASPs who believe anyone not living their lifestyle is a threat to the family and are prepared to do almost anything to clear me out … I’m home based. I’ve been told by USEO general counsel (long time friend who is a lawyer) they are moving to file an injunction to prevent anyone from entering since they can’t file evictions.
What matters is to live to fight another day. As of this article some 210,611 don’t have that ability. 17,515 people in NYC don’t get to fight another day. That number has been deemed insignificant by some but that means 911 is 1/5 as important. How much economic impact was that to the US over two thousand lives?
Haircuts And COVID-19
It all kinda comes down to haircuts. People need their haircut now and are forcing the economies to open early. We made it through all the other things but a haircut is going to kill a few thousand more than it would have if we stayed shut down.
But hey, at least that’s something. Nothing is pretty boring.
What’s your PPP story?
UPDATE: Approved And Paying Some Payroll
In the end it was Bluevine.com that worked out. Cross Rivers Bank somehow ended up being the loaning bank, even after they officially denied my application that I made directly to them. Apparently they didn’t mind it after Bluevine and SBA both signed off … so that highlights how disorganized all this has been. But I’m glad it’s worked out! I will note my experience may be unique as I placed an identity alert on my credit 6 months ago after an identity theft. That seemed to have tripped up some lenders.