Today over 70 percent of business owners throughout the U.S. have turned to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) – a loan process created by the federal government for struggling enterprises to mitigate the economic effects of COVID-19 – for assistance in keeping their companies afloat. President Biden recently announced revisions to the PPP to better target our nation’s smallest businesses, specifically mandating a two-week period starting on February 24th wherein only businesses with fewer than 20 employees can apply. As we near a full year of pandemic lockdowns and closures, over 70 percent of business owners throughout the U.S. have turned to the PPP for assistance in keeping their companies afloat.

Strategically focusing on smaller-sized loans that support women- and minority-owned businesses, my company American Lending Center (ALC), a community non-bank lender, has provided over $152 million in relief funds to enterprises in 49 states across the country almost exclusively under SBA programs. And while ALC has been able to make a marked impact throughout the country, in California specifically, ALC has funded over 300 PPP loans, delivering approximately $12.5 million into California’s small business ecosystem.

Unlike the national average loan size of over $100,000, ALC’s average PPP loan amount was only $27,075 in 2020, with 89% of recipients being minority or women owned businesses and 60% being self-employed. Additionally, most first-time borrowers were funded within just three days of their SBA processing by ALC.

ALC recognizes that small businesses make up more than 99 percent of California businesses and employ nearly half of all working Californians. At 4.2 million, California has the most small businesses of any state, employing 7.2 million people and creating approximately 215,000 jobs in 2019 alone. With such a significant impact, putting these businesses at the forefront of COVID relief is vital to protecting main street economies, in particular minority- and women-owned enterprises.

The initial bumpy rollout of PPP was due in large part to a backlog of applications at big banks, leaving small main street enterprises behind. Community non-bank lenders, including ALC, stepped up to provide alternative lending sources and secured expedited approval from the SBA to receive PPP applications. Ultimately, being intimately familiar with the local business landscape and effectively circumventing many of the bureaucratic hurdles that prevent large banks from getting money out the door, we can get crucial funds into the pockets of business owners quickly.

Particularly for small companies with limited resources and for many in new immigrant communities, PPP loans can still seem unattainable. To combat this, ALC developed an innovative new partnership program increasing access to capital for our most vulnerable American companies via collaboration with multi-lingual CPAs and financial advisors. For many business owners for whom English is a second language, the PPP loan process can be overly daunting, leading to an increasing number of new immigrant businesses closing their doors. Effectively bridging this barrier to success, ALC has made sure that language differences will not inhibit achievement of the American dream for which so many have come to the United States.

Amid this uncertain time, one thing remains clear: fighting this pandemic and its economic fallout requires a united effort. As the private sector shifts to dedicate financial resources, supply chains and manpower to help better understand and control this disease, we continue to make significant progress in treating COVID-19 and mitigating the economic fallout that has resulted from it. At American Lending Center we have long supported the small business community and ALC will continue to act on the longstanding belief that small businesses and grassroots entrepreneurs are the true engines of the U.S. economy.

Find the ALC PPP application portal at:

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