As the owner of a small criminal defense boutique law firm in Boston, I have three priorities during this awful pandemic: keep my business going; keep my employees on payroll; and continue providing uninterrupted client services.
Because of this, I made sure we started reaching out to, and connecting with, the community bank where we do our principal banking a full two-days days before the PPP went live on April 3. That our loan application was funded earlier this week, in my opinion, is likely attributable to two key factors.
First, despite first-day programming glitches ( involving either the software or the platform used), our bank was kind enough to grant us “place holder status” at the end of the first day based upon what required documents their program had been able to accept from us via on-line line submission by close of business on April 3, despite internal bugs in their system which inexplicably rejected others from us that were also required to complete the loan application.
Second, we accepted, without push-back, the loan amount their software analog had calculated for us, as opposed to the amount we initially thought we needed. Still, our two-weeks wait for approval/funding was difficult. During that time, as I watched the staggeringly rapid daily diminution of the overall $350b, I complained to anyone patient enough to listen that presumably ineligible big businesses and corporations “had to be behind” the accelerating rate of attrition in available funding. It turns out I was right; probably even more right than even the Media has reported so far. As someone who regularly defends individuals and corporations accused of banking and wire fraud, I do not believe the 500+ employee companies and major corporations who did receive first-round PPP loans have engaged in any criminal wrong-doing. Rather, I believe they probably took advantage of either intentionally broad language or certain built-in loopholes to receive funding that was, ostensibly, not meant for them. As a small business owner for whom the PPP was designed, my sense is their greed exceeded their need.
Luckily, it did not ultimately affect my firm’s own application; not so for many of my small-business colleagues who have been left to wonder why their timely application remains “in process”. If any investigation is called for, I believe it should involve taking a closer look at Congress and whether or not Members deliberately crafted vague language, or inserted purposeful loopholes, they knew deep-pocketed donors would try to take advantage of. In the meantime, here’s hoping PPP round 2 will wind up in the accounts of those who really do need it; small business America.
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