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Paycheck Protection Program deemed a success in region

The Federal Reserve Bank says the recently ended Paycheck Protection Program was widely successful in helping small businesses despite a slow start and criticisms about how the program initially handed out loans.

The program began in March 2020 under President Donald Trump and was part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. As the pandemic continued to ravage the economy throughout the year, the loan initiative was extended two other times. The PPP was set up so banks and other financial providers could help small businesses receive forgivable loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration. The goal was to give businesses — many of which were forced to shut down to prevent the spread of the virus — the funds needed to pay rent, utilities and, most importantly, salaries to keep workers on their payrolls.

Initially, loan access was limited to companies with fewer than 500 employees, including contract workers. Loans covered up to two months of payroll and were capped at $10 million. The program was adjusted several times as federal administrators took steps to try to get money into the hands of businesses that needed it most — small companies operating in financially underserved rural areas. As the program was refined, it became more successful in reaching small businesses with the greatest need, the Fed found.

See full article from the Arkansas Democrat Gazette here.