Hoosier small business owners look for loan guidance

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. –  Small business owners in Indiana are looking for answers when it comes to the different loans available and how to use them.

Some owners fear the stay-at-home order will make borrowed money during this time useless. Michele Isenhower created a website for her store once COVID-19 forced an in-person shutdown.

“That’s something that I wanted to do prior to this. I didn’t really have a lot of time to do it,” said Isenhower.

She’s applied for the Paycheck Protection Program and has already received her Economic Injury Disaster Loan.

Isenhower is still waiting to learn from her banker how she’s allowed to spend the EIDL, if she also gets the PPP money.

“He really didn’t know, he said he was going to be on some kind of a Zoom conference today, and hopefully, he would know more. He couldn’t direct me,” said Isenhower.

She knows the majority of PPP loans have to be spent on payroll, but she doesn’t understand how that would work if her store is still closed. The loan is required to be used in the first eight weeks.

“I’m confused because if one of my employees is already getting or has applied for unemployment, then they may make more money on unemployment than they would coming back to work for me,” said Isenhower.

She wishes the governor could give a straight answer on when the economy is expected to open back up.

“I just really need that eight weeks to start. When we are actually able to open?” said Isenhower.

Small businesses can still use 25% of the PPP loan for other operating expenses. The goal was to keep people on payroll.

“I think overall, the intent was to make sure that you have money flowing through the economy through those businesses,” said Indiana Bankers Association Senior Vice President Dax Denton.

The IBA says the first round of PPP funds is expected to run out by the end of the week. That’s why the group is advocating for a second round of federal PPP money.

“There are some conversations being had nationally about some of the tweaks of the PPP program for this round of stimulus, so it operates more appropriately and functions better if you will,” said Denton.

Isenhower hopes for another round too, but this time, she hopes the rules are a little more clear.

“I am just so confused on what to do right now, and I don’t want to spend this money the wrong way,” said Isenhower.

IBA said the best thing you can do as a small business owner is continue working with your personal banker to get your questions answered.

IBA asks for patience because this is an unprecedented time.

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