RICHMOND, Va. -- Concerns from small business owners are growing as the government prepares to launch a $359 billion loan program meant to help small businesses in need of financial assistance due to COVID-19.
Retired banker Ray Nasser says that he knows first hand how frustrating the process of trying to get help can be.
“I started in banking business when I was 21 and I was a banker for all those years, certified financial planner for six years," Nasser said.
The 73-year-old now volunteers as a mentor with Richmond based SCORE, an organization that helps advise businesses on loan options.
“I think the small businesses are going to struggle, period," Nasser said.
Nasser said it’s been a challenge to find assistance during the current health emergency.
“Well I would call it a crisis," he added.
Because of the crisis, Nasser said that there are opportunities for small businesses to get the financial assistance they need.
The Paycheck Protection Program loan or PPP, is one option, part of the the recently passed, Coronavirus Relief Bill or CARES Act.
Nasser said it helps with payroll.
“It’s a forgiven loan for 8 weeks worth of payroll and other fixed expenses. It’s a pretty good deal. The governments given you that money," Nasser said.
Another option is an Economic Injury Disaster Loan issued through the Small Business Administration.
“It’s a term loan and it’s not forgivable, has to be paid back. Money by the SBA instead of the bank," Nasser said.
Right now Nasser said it may be difficult for business owners to get help directly from banks because they are overwhelmed with loan requests.
“The banks, you know they’re having trouble dealing with the volume," Nasser said.
He added that any business owner applying for help must be ready to wait.
“It’s a mixture of having to be patient and also being persistent," Nasser said.