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Small business loans under Paycheck Protection Program hard to come by

News 8 found one SoCal bank willing to process loans for all customers.

SAN DIEGO — Small businesses all over San Diego county are frustrated trying to apply for loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

Business owners have been emailing and calling News 8, saying they are being denied by both credit unions and big banks.

But there is one local bank, Bank of Southern California, that says it can help, whether you are a customer of that bank or not.

Business owner Felicia Peoples employs 26 workers at A Place of Our Own preschool in Escondido.

The coronavirus pandemic is hitting her business hard, so she tried to apply for a PPP loan.

“Getting this funding means keeping my doors open, paying my staff, paying my lease, and being able to operate,” Peoples said.

She’s had an account Bank of America for 15 years. When she went online and tried to apply for the loan, she got a message saying her account does not qualify.

“[It asked] 'Do you have a credit card or a line of credit with Bank of America?' When I selected no, the application process ended,” Peoples said.

Bank of America ended up getting a ton of backlash on social media and on Saturday they ended up revising their policy.

“As of Saturday, we are accepting applications from our clients who do not have a borrowing relationship with us,” said Carla Molina, a spokesperson with Bank of America.

Molina said Bank of America has processed 178,000 applications totaling nearly $33 billion in loans as of Monday.  Still, if you don’t have an existing account with Bank of America, the company will not process your PPP loan.

Encinitas business owner Gerald Griffin tried to get a PPP loan through San Diego County Credit Union.  Again, it was no dice.

“I'm not sure why they wouldn't want to process them, especially for their good customers. I've been with them for years. But I guess that's a business decision they make,” said Griffin.

He owns an environmental survey company with just one employee: himself.

“I want to keep going just as I was, maintain payroll for a couple months, and be back in stride when this thing is over,” Griffin said.

SDCCU emailed News 8 the following statement:

“SDCCU is not a SBA lender and, as a result, does not have the internal resources to offer this SBA program. As a leading real estate lender in our community, SDCCU is specifically focused on working with our borrowers to defer their mortgage, and commercial real estate loan payments, as well as their auto and credit card payments.

Since March 13, SDCCU has deferred more than 40,000 loans with over $525 million in loan balances, and we continue to get mortgage relief requests daily. We moved quickly when the pandemic started and you can read more about our coronavirus payment deferment relief programs at sdccu.com/covid19.”

Through trial and error, however, Griffin received some good news from the Bank of Southern California.

“It was a smaller bank that I had no prior affiliation with and they were on the ball. They took care of it immediately, very happy with them,” Griffin said.

Griffin downloaded the application online and got it filed in one day.

“I was lucky.  I did find somebody and I hope other people are lucky also,” he said.

Mission Federal Credit Union also does not participate in the PPP loan program for small businesses. Mission Fed emailed News 8 the statement below:

"Mission Fed has been proudly serving our members for nearly 60 years. Our stability coupled with our commitment to building deep relationships with our membership and community partners is what makes us the premier credit union in San Diego.

Our Branches, Contact Center, Online/Mobile and ATM services all remain open at this time to serve our member’s needs. Unfortunately, we cannot provide support for some of the small business needs outlined in the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act), as we are not an SBA 7(a) lender and these loans are not offered at Mission Fed.

We are unable to support the following at this time:

· PPP (Paycheck Protection Program)

· EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loan)

· SBA (Small Business Association) services

We CAN support the following:

· Skip-A-Pay requests

· Mortgage Forbearance Assistance

· Loan Extension needs

· Financial Relief Loans

· Member requests for other consumer and residential loans, new deposit accounts, insurance and investment needs and all other services we have always offered

Please note, due to the high volume of requests there may be additional wait time."

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