Tulsa’s Small Businesses Look To Feds, City For Loans

Friday, April 3rd 2020, 3:58 pm

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt said Friday he expects the state to lose more than $400 million for the rest of the fiscal year. 

A lot of that lost revenue is coming as a result of the state's small businesses having to close.

Friday marked the first day small businesses across the country could apply for federal money because of the impact of the pandemic. 

Several banks in Tulsa said they received calls all day from small business owners, trying to make sure those paychecks keep coming.

"A lot of desperation right now, quite frankly,” Arvest Business Banker Darin Adams said.

Adams said he’s hearing from Tulsa's small businesses in every industry.

"We've got restaurant owners, home daycare. We've got some home healthcare businesses; we've got some retail. We've got some airline industry, some manufacturers,” he said.

Related Story - Gov. Stitt: Oklahoma Expected To Experience Revenue Failure For Fiscal Year 2020 

The Small Business Administration has a few options. The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan that will be fully forgiven if the money is used for payroll, mortgages, rent, and utilities. But 75 percent must be used for payroll. For more information from the SBA, click here.

Rose Rock Development Partners is a real estate development company that has done a couple projects downtown. CEO Steven Watts is working to get the Paycheck Protection Program loan to help his six employees on payroll, along with another loan, too.

He said the application wasn’t too overwhelming, but what’s going on is stressful.

"I guess the stressful aspect is just, you worry about the administrative side with all the applications that are coming through. How is the SBA gonna be able to handle it? And then, the other side is just hopefully the money doesn't run out if everyone is applying all at once,” Watts said.

I've heard some very sad stories, quite frankly. So that's - it's been hard to hear. But it's also, this is a great program and we're ready to help,” Adams said.

The City of Tulsa announced earlier this week it partnered with the Tulsa Economic Development Corporation to provide more than $1 million in zero interest loans to help small business owners.

The city said to qualify, a small business applicant must have fewer than 50 full-time employees, have 2019 revenues that did not exceed $5,000,000 and have experienced a decrease in revenue of at least 25 percent between February and March 2020 due to COVID-19. 

In a news release, the city said, “The Resilience and Recovery Fund will lend up to $50,000 to qualifying businesses and entrepreneurs. Loans can be used for a wide variety of things, including but not limited to; payroll, insurance premiums, bridge loans, etc.”

To apply, click here or call TEDC at (918) 585-8332 with questions.

More information can be found in the following release sent by Oklahoma Senator James Lankford's office: 

The office of Senator James Lankford (R-OK) has launched a webpage at www.lankford.senate.gov/issues that is compiled with information for Oklahoma workers, businesses, students, and parents. The webpage includes several easily accessible documents on various aspects of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act legislation to address Oklahomans’ frequently asked questions and provide resources on ways to apply for and receive benefits, including unemployment insurance, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), direct access payments, and more.

“Government has an essential task to complete for our health and economy. The programs that have been created to help our nation get through this difficult time are only helpful if people know how to access them,” said Lankford. “My staff and I have engaged with tens of thousands of Oklahomans over the last several days to hear their concerns, answer their questions, and resolve any issues with benefit dispersal. These documents offer answers to questions that we hear most frequently from Oklahomans. We will continue to find ways to keep Oklahomans informed.”

  • CLICK HERE for information on direct access payments to individuals and families.
  • CLICK HERE for information on unemployment insurance. 
  • CLICK HEREfor information on the Employee Retention Tax Credit. 
  • CLICK HEREfor information on the Paycheck Protection Program.
  • CLICK HEREfor information on the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. 

Last week, Lankford virtually connected with more than 20,000 Oklahomans to offer information and hear their concerns and questions. This week, he hosted two more telephone town halls with Oklahomans all over the state and virtually met with agriculture groups, construction groups, chambers of commerce, hospitals, and retailers. Lankford held virtual meetings with constituents in Oklahoma City, Enid, Durant, Woodward, Miami, and Broken Bow. Lankford has worked with his fellow senators to resolve a flaw in the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) implementation and ensure direct access payments to senior adults. Lankford also worked with the Oklahoma State Department of Education to ensure kids in need of school meals can still receive them at home.

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