MIAMI, May 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- COVID Loan Tracker, a digital coalition of entrepreneurs across America advocating for the capital needs of small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, today announced findings from its dataset of applications to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance Program (EIDL Advance) that suggest the Small Business Administration has not lived up to its promise to process requests for relief through the program on a first-come, first-served basis. The findings raise serious questions about the agency's internal processes in administering the EIDL Advance program and its lack of transparency in a time when American small businesses are in the direst need of help.
Since March, COVID Loan Tracker, through its website www.covidloantracker.com, has collected data from 30,000 small businesses that have applied for EIDL Advances. The SBA program provides small businesses experiencing temporary loss of revenue with advances of up to $10,000 that do not need to be repaid.
The SBA's public communications on EIDL Advances state that applications are processed on a first-come, first-served basis. And yet COVID Loan Tracker has identified hundreds of instances in which it appears that certain applications were approved, and advances paid out while others that had been submitted much earlier remained in limbo, without any explanation. For example, data from COVID Loan Tracker's members show that some advances have been issued for applications submitted on April 15, while other applications submitted as early as the last week in March remain unpaid.
"There may be a logical, acceptable reason that it appears some applications are 'jumping the line' to approval and others lag behind. For example, we understand that to administer such an expansive program, the agency must ensure that taxpayer money is being paid out properly and appropriately, and that, to an extent, the complexity of any bureaucratic endeavor can lead to variability in processing times," said Duncan MacDonald-Korth, Co-Founder of COVID Loan Tracker. "That said, many of the discrepancies we have seen ? some applications are approved while others submitted weeks earlier wait ? fall outside of the bounds of run-of-the-mill government inefficiency and speak to the need for the SBA to make their internal processes more transparent to the public and, in particular, to small business owners seeking relief."
Indeed, Mr. MacDonald-Korth has direct experience with the EIDL Advance program. He applied for relief on April 2 and received it on April 27, while Rita MacDonald-Korth, a fellow entrepreneur and co-founder of COVID Loan Tracker who applied within minutes of her husband, had not received her advance as of May 6. Several other colleagues with their own businesses, who applied at the same time or earlier than Mr. MacDonald-Korth, are also still waiting.
COVID Loan Tracker is asking small business owners to submit their experiences with the EIDL Advance program or other SBA-administered relief programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program to its website, www.covidloantracker.com. Doing so adds to the body of knowledge on how effective the federal government has been in helping small businesses sustain themselves and recover from the economic impact of the pandemic.
Mr. MacDonald-Korth concluded, "At COVID Loan Tracker, our mission is to empower small businesses to leverage the strength of our numbers and hold government accountable. We ourselves are entrepreneurs who have applied for relief from the SBA, so we know firsthand that the process can be both confusing and opaque. The agency is on the record saying that EIDL Advances are to be processed and paid out on a first-come, first-served basis, and while some degree of inefficiency is to be expected, the SBA's lack of transparency into how they are processing these applications only makes a bad situation worse. Knowledge is power, particularly in these uncertain times when small business owners are seeking some semblance of certainty, and the SBA must step up to the plate to provide it."
About COVID Loan Tracker
COVID Loan Tracker was founded in Miami by entrepreneurs Duncan and Rita MacDonald-Korth. Its website, covidloantracker.com, is a free, crowdsourced data service aimed at providing transparency on when and how many loans the federal government is disbursing through its Small Business Administration (SBA) programs in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The site provides insights, visualizations and best practices based on data from its survey of U.S. small businesses who have applied for relief. Its goal is to empower small business owners, journalists and the general public with the information they need to hold the government accountable. COVID Loan Tracker also offers a channel, through its partnership with the small-business funding provider Fundera, for entrepreneurs to quickly and conveniently apply for loans. For more information, please visit https://www.covidloantracker.com
SOURCE COVID Loan Tracker
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