What is PPP Extension Act? 78% backs revised deadline, yet Covid-hit small businesses face challenges: Poll

While more than three-quarters backed the idea of extending the PPP deadline, 74 percent were not too impressed with process itself


                            What is PPP Extension Act? 78% backs revised deadline, yet Covid-hit small businesses face challenges: Poll
Businesses continue to face challenges in the US amid the coronavirus pandemic wave (Getty Images)

Small businesses fighting the ill-effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on Tuesday, March 16, got some good news as the House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to extend the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for two months. The bill -- the PPE Extension Act of 2021 -- got passed in a 415-3 vote. The extension will be till May 31, instead of the current date of March 31, and give the small business administration an additional month to process loans. The bill next goes to the Senate and is likely to be approved then as well. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the Democrats want to see the measure passed at the earliest.

The legislative efforts to extend the PPP deadline have found a big backing and a poll taken by Alignable, the largest online referral network for small businesses with more than six million members across North America, 78 percent have supported the idea to extend the PPP deadline even as the overall optimism about the capacity to stay afloat diminished in these challenging times. 

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The poll, which was taken this week among 5,306 small business owners, also revealed many other problems with the PPP process that need to be addressed to make it helpful for the maximum number of small businesses. The poll put before the respondents the question: “Do you think Congress should vote to extend the March 31st deadline for the PPP?” While more than three-quarters of them answered in the affirmative, there were also other angles to understand their views about the program and what they need at the moment. 

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during an announcement related to small businesses at the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building February 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Getty Images)

 

Other findings of the poll

For example, 30 percent said they thought extension of the deadline would help their businesses. Twenty-three percent felt the extension wouldn’t help them but could benefit other small businesses. Nineteen percent felt the government needs to coordinate with lenders more effectively to ensure that the new loan formula is put into use universally. Eleven percent said the government needed to clarify the process. Another 11 percent were of the opinion that the deadline extension might help them, but were not sure about it. Six percent said the current PPP is quite complicated and the Biden administration should start something new. 

The respondents were also asked about the new deadline date and while 31 percent were okay with May 31, 69 percent were in favor of July 1 or beyond. 

Only 26% said PPP process has been smooth

The respondents were also asked the question: “How has the PPP process been for you?” Twenty-six percent said it has been smooth and they received their loans quickly. But not all was well with the remaining 74 percent. Twenty-one percent said they were not sure what was happening with their applications while 17 percent said the process is slow. Twelve percent said the paperwork was hard to be completed, 11 percent were frustrated that the lending institution was not updated with new terms, nine percent said they gave up since the trouble was too much while four percent said the experience was maddening as their bank did not take more applications and they are looking for new lenders at the moment. 
 
The Alignable poll also said that 75 percent of the small business owners surveyed were concerned that their businesses might not stay afloat till the pandemic wreaks havoc and of that group, 45 percent said they were “highly concerned” about seeing their businesses survive till Covid’s effects remained.