Written by: Lisa Wise, Chief Flockster

I own a family of mid-sized property management companies in the DC. Our companies keep 52 folks employed and aggregate 6.5 million in business annually.

The now infamously rocky rollout of the Payroll Protection Program had our staff tearing out their hair in frustration. In their eagerness to get funds to the public, the SBA had launched the program before it was fully developed. As a result the rules kept changing, even after we’d submitted the applications. We prepared and submitted the unbelievably onerous payroll protection applications a total of six times in order to comply with the continually updating instructions coming from the SBA.

As with most things in pandemic times, the PPP process was an exercise in moving at lightning speed while the world seemed to be grinding to a halt. Last Thursday we received word that the second of our two PPP applications were approved. Today, the funds were deposited. We’re awash in relief: I’m tempted to withdraw the money and tuck it under my mattress. It seems unreal that we prevailed. But I’m saddened that many of our peers in the small business community are not experiencing the same relief right now.

My business is fortunate in that we already had the resources we needed--and boy did we need them--to submit our application early. Our acting CFO and VP of growth has an MBA and is a former real estate banker. We have in-house legal counsel, plus a CPA on retainer who gave us his full-time attention. All told, the two applications we prepared-- for a low-interest loan and for the Payroll Protection Program--required at least 100 staff hours from these professionals.

Early on, we chose the right banking partner, which turned out to be a game changing decision. Had we stuck with Eagle Bank, where we do most of our business, we would be left in proverbial dust right now. We could see they were unprepared for the process. National Cooperative Bank did an outstanding job of giving us personal attention even as they were managing their own volume of applications.

Even so, the process wasn’t easy. Not in the slightest. As this next round of funding opens in coming days, I hope our small business brothers and sisters find better banking partners and have better luck as they navigate through the business of staying in business.

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