Congress has authorized an additional $321 billion in emergency funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, which aims to keep workers on the payroll by providing grants and loans to companies with fewer than 500 employees, but the program has proved so popular that it can’t keep up with overwhelming demand.
The application process for the second round of the PPP opened for new applications at 10:30 Monday morning – and the Small Business Administration system crashed within just a few minutes.
“It’s obvious the system is simply flooded right now,” Craig Street, the chief lending officer at United Midwest Savings Bank in Columbus, Ohio, told The New York Times. “It’s been very stop and start, with no real way to know whether it is working other than to keep hitting the submit button.”
The first round of the program, which kicked off on April 3, was marred by technical glitches and a lack of clear guidelines. Even so, it ran through its initial $349 billion in funding in just 13 days, leaving millions of small business owners out in the cold amid complaints of favoritism toward larger and better-connected companies.