Coronavirus impact: Concord comic shop owner captures difficult process applying for small business loan

CONCORD, Calif. (KGO) -- The health crisis from the novel coronavirus pandemic is quickly turning into an economic crisis, especially for small business owners. The Trump Administration's $349 billion dollar Paycheck Protection Program was set to roll out on Friday, but several banks were struggling to meet the demand of applications. One comic shop owner from Concord captured the process he had to go through while trying to apply for a loan.

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Joe Field, owner of Flying Colors Comics & Other Cool Stuff, has been in business since 1988. He had to close because his business is not considered an essential business.

"Well here it is, the paperwork for the Payroll Protection Act and I'm filling it out and then I'm gonna take it over to the local bank here and see if there is someone I can talk to about it there. There's a lot of information here that I am not used to dealing with even after having been in business for 32 years so this is a real stretch for us. We do not ask for loans we do not ask for help we've done everything on our own," Field said.

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Since Wells Fargo's online system was not ready on Friday, Field tried to submit paperwork in person and recorded the aftermath.

"Having my paperwork ready, I got up to the front of the line and was handed another sheet that talks about how the process is not gonna start for businesses until Monday and it'll all be done online so, uh... it was nice to get a little fresh air - right?," Field said.

He was in good spirits but represents the frustrating process so many small businesses owners are experiencing.

Barbara Morrison, CEO of TMC Financing based in Oakland, said she is impressed by the Paycheck Protection Program, but banks were not ready.
"I'm pleased with the program, but to say that it was going to be ready for primetime on Friday perhaps was just a little ambitious," Morrison said,

She explained that guidelines for the loan process were still being adjusted late Thursday night.

"We didn't even have an interim final rule until Thursday night," Morrison said. "We didn't have a final application until the middle of the night Thursday. We woke up Friday morning with the application. It is understandable that the banks weren't all perfectly ready."

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Morrison's firm does not do PPP loans, but clients have been reaching out for help because navigating the new program has been confusing.

Her suggestion, work with your bank first.

"Work with your bank of account. If they've ever done SBA 7(a) lending before, they are capable of doing PPP program it just might take them a day or two to get up and running," Morrison said. "I would also urge them to look into the SBA disaster loan, the EIDL and for that you go online and apply online - it's a very simple application. And once you apply you are eligible for a 10,000 grant that does not have to be repaid."

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