A Paycheck Protection Program loan ‘glitch’ has this Central Texas business owner in limbo

Investigations

FILE – In this April 28, 2020 file photo, a closed sign is posted at a restaurant along the River Walk in San Antonio. Banks are reporting a little more success in getting small business owners’ applications for coronavirus relief loans into government processing systems. Bank industry groups says changes the Small Business Administration made in its procedures apparently are helping lenders trying to submit thousands of applications for $310 billion in loans. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Suzanne Hayes could use a lifeline.

Her Central Texas business has specialized in crime scene clean-ups — everything from human decomposition to homicide — for the last 14-plus years.

But business has slowed as much as 70% because of the pandemic.

Hayes, who has three employees and two contractors, gets most of her business through word of mouth.

“It’s a very difficult thing to advertise,” she said.

Hayes applied for a Paycheck Protection Program loan through her local credit union April 24, but the loan processor, a company called Kabbage, hasn’t approved her loan.

Hayes’ employees already use PPE, but entering homes still have folks weary.

A “glitch” over eligibility has her in a holding pattern.

She saw a “not eligible” decision when checking the status of the PPP loan April 30. But when she was finally able to get through on the phone to Kabbage, they told her she appears to be eligible.

“My dollar amount is not very much,” Hayes said of the loan, which is based on payroll costs. “We’re going to be the ones that do lose out.”

Kabbage claims their online application makes applying for and using a PPP loan “as simple as possible,” but Hayes said the company told her they have other issues, in addition to hers.

“I’m sure they’re overwhelmed, but it seems very buggy,” she said.

KXAN has reached out to the company for comment.

Bradley Gold, a lecturer in the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin, said Hayes’ situation is very common.

“There aren’t easy answers,” Gold said, noting that the technology available has also helped small business owners.

As for Hayes, her employees are still being paid, but she’s had to dip into savings.

Cleaning up crime scenes isn’t for the faint of heart.

“It’s very imperative we keep the employees,” she said. “And they’re good employees, we don’t want to lose them.”

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