After the initial nearly $250 billion assigned to the Payment Protection Program (PPP) were exhausted, Congress approved a further funding package of $310 billion.
Now, local banks are distributing that money to area businesses.
“The idea is that by and large the funds go to help protect employees, help business owners to pay staff,” says Norm Plumstead, president of Honor Bank.
The PPP provides some financial relief to business owners. The forgivable loans allow businesses to keep their staff on the payroll through closures.
Plumstead says, “I think there’s a great deal of uncertainty in terms of what’s to come, economically speaking, and to have an eight weeks’ worth of payroll that business owners can pay their employees, I think has been huge.”
Honor Bank has processed nearly 400 PPP loans to small businesses, helping to retain more than 4,000 local jobs.
“It’s part of our mission, it’s really what we’re built around to help improve the finical lives of our customers and communities here in northern Michigan,” says Plumstead.
Old Town Playhouse in Traverse City received their loan from Honor Bank three weeks ago.
Executive Director Deb Jackson says, “It was a huge relief, it gave us some breathing space… nonprofits work on a pretty slim profit margin.”
Due to COVID-19, Old Town Playhouse had to cancel shows, which Jackson says was a big financial hit.
“We were really excited about it because it gave us the ability to keep staff on, if nothing else we had to manage through refunds to customers, to people who already bought tickets to the camps and the shows,” says Jackson.
Now, Jackson says she’s happy to be able to provide some money to her hard-working employees during this unprecedented time.
“It meant a lot to keep them on and not have to force them to deal with unemployment, which is a huge headache,” says Jackson. “It was truly an amazing thing; our staff was quite thankful for it.”