Next round of coronavirus stimulus funding opens, with bumpy results

(This story has been updated with glitches plaguing the re-opening of small-business loans.)

Fresh funds approved last week by Congress will replenish the Small Business Administration’s Payment Protection Program with another $310 billion, plus $60 billion for emergency loans on Monday.

But the computer system for processing applications broke down within hours Monday, prompting fresh doubts about whether this newest round of stimulus funding is adequate to help small businesses through the disruption caused by the coronavirus.

To deal with the expected high volume of demand for the forgivable loans, the SBA told lenders over the weekend that it would pace entries into the loan portal and limit any single bank to 10% of the program’s funds. Still, the system crashed by Monday afternoon, frustrating bankers and distressed businesses that missed the first round of stimulus funding.

Publicly traded companies need not apply for the loans, according to new guidelines from the SBA saying it’s highly unlikely they will receive any money in this round.

The U.S. Treasury Department released guidelines last week that public companies that received small business loans would be required to return the money, unless they could prove that they needed the loans to keep operating.

The Treasury Department’s warning comes after more than $650 million of the small business funding was granted to publicly traded companies.

The first round of small business funding, including $349 billion for the PPP, was depleted in less than two weeks.

Hemp and CBD companies have been successful in securing PPP and disaster loans.