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Small businesses face issues when trying to apply for Paycheck Protection Program

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – For many small businesses, Friday was the first day they were able to apply for a loan known as the Paycheck Protection Program or PPP, which is part of the two trillion dollar coronavirus stimulus package.

It gives small businesses access to short-term cash flow assistance to help cover operating expenses and keep employees during this difficult time.

But as small businesses tried to submit applications over the weekend, many ran into issues with banks like Wells Fargo and were left with no help at all.

“This only now just puts me in more distress. It makes me more worried about what my future is because literally my business is 100% shut down. There’s not even a penny coming in, I can’t even pay the rent on my warehouse and I’ve never been in a situation where I haven’t been able to pay my business,” Michelle Eklof said. 

Like many other small business owners, Michelle Eklof is struggling to stay afloat after her Concord limousine business shut down due to stay at home orders.

Starting last Friday, small businesses could apply through their banks for a loan known as the PPP for short term cash flow assistance.

However, Eklof says her bank, Wells Fargo, never had a working application on their website when they launched the program on Saturday.

She says she continued to check back several times a day, still nothing.

She woke up on Monday, still not able to apply, only to find out that the bank now closed its application process.

“I’m angry, I was really counting on this. I was really watching and following their website and believed in them,” Eklof said. 

Eklof quickly learned she wasn’t the only one dealing with this big problem.

“Literally a line of people outside the bank frustrated and just asking questions, wanting to know what’s going on. It’s not just me. It’s many Wells Fargo business customers, I mean people were yelling. people are angry,” Eklof said. 

Others also complain on social media.

On Monday, we asked a Wells Fargo spokesperson what happened. They responded saying:

“Given the amount of customer interest expressed and our target amount to distribute through the PPP, we have taken the online interest form down. On April 5, Wells Fargo announced it is targeting to distribute a total of $10 billion to small business customers under the requirements of the PPP and will focus on serving two segments of its customer population: nonprofits and small businesses with fewer than 50 employees. “

They did not address our questions about links and applications not working on their website or if they would provide alternatives to these customers who never had an opportunity to apply because of website malfunctions.

“After this is said and done my home loan will be taken out of there. I will be closing my accounts with Wells Fargo and taking my business elsewhere. Bank of America clients are still able to apply for these loans,” Eklof said.

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