Businesses in the tri-county region received more than $2.87 billion in potentially forgivable loans through the federal Paycheck Protection Program, according to an early December release of data from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The pandemic relief loans went to more than 28,000 recipients and helped preserve 291,362 jobs in the area, the SBA said.
Previously, the SBA released information about who received PPP loans over $150,000, but not the exact amounts of the loan. The agency also released information about who received PPP loans under $150,000, but that information was limited to the business’ location and how much was exactly received, with the business’s name excluded.
Based on a Business Times review of the SBA data, the top 10 loan recipients in the Tri-Counties were:
• Taft Electric Company, Ventura: $8,762,899
• Saalex Solutions, Camarillo: $8,653,500
• MGE Underground, Paso Robles: $7,212,383
• Pleasant Travel Service, Thousand Oaks: $6,900,725
• Sientra, Goleta: $6,651,600
• West Coast Berry Farms, Oxnard: $6,468,102
• Vsolvit, Ventura: $5,875,700
• Hi-Temp Insulation, Camarillo: $5,848,758
• Ventura Coastal, Ventura: $5,752,500
• Coastal Vineyard Care Associates, Buellton: $5,369,000
A few other notable companies that received large PPP loans include Sansum Santa Barbara Medical Clinic, which received $5,124,000; Darensberries of Santa Maria, which received $5,063,635; and MannKind, a Westlake Village biotechnology firm that got $4,872,860. Invoca in Santa Barbara also received $4,421,278 in April, but returned the entire amount shortly afterward, after receiving “more guidance about the use of funds” from the SBA and Treasury Department, the company said.
The Pacific Coast Business Times is one of the recipients, receiving $136,757, which was lent to the paper by Wells Fargo.
Nationwide, the SBA made more than 5.2 million loans to businesses through the program, and lent more than $525 billion. Those loans were made through lenders of all levels, including community banks like American Riviera Bank, which lent $117 million dollars to businesses in the tri-county region, and Community Bancorp of Santa Maria, which lent $57.6 million to 461 businesses.
The Independent Community Bankers of America recognized American Riviera Bank with its 2020 National Community Bank Service Award for its work during the pandemic and cited the bank’s PPP response as part of the reason why. The bank created more than 600 loans, which helped preserve an estimated 12,500 jobs.
The Paycheck Protection Program ended Aug. 8, and the SBA is no longer accepting new applications for PPP funding. Instead, it has started forgiving the loans of businesses that already took out PPP loans earlier in the year. The SBA said it has forgiven more than $83 billion worth of PPP as of Nov. 22, taken out by almost 600,000 businesses. In October the SBA announced it was making it simpler for businesses with loans of $50,000 or less to seek forgiveness, with a simpler application.
“We are committed to making the PPP forgiveness process as simple as possible while also protecting against fraud and misuse of funds,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a press release. “We continue to favor additional legislation to further simplify the forgiveness process.”
Loans are forgivable if used for payroll and other qualifying purposes. The SBA said borrowers can apply for loan forgiveness once the borrower has used all loan proceeds that the borrower is asking to be forgiven. Borrowers can apply for forgiveness up to the maturity date of the loan, but if those who took out PPP loans don’t apply for forgiveness within the first 10 months after the last day of the period their PPP loan covered, the borrower will have to begin paying back the loan.
In order to avoid that, the SBA recommends working with the lender to make sure the forms are filled out correctly, compiling documentation, submitting both the forms and the documentation and communicating with the lender through the process. Those who took out PPP loans are required to hold onto certain documents associated with the loan for six years after the loan is forgiven or repaid in full.
Forgiveness might also be more complicated if businesses took out multiple forms of loans from the federal government. The SBA said it will deduct any EIDL Advance a borrower received from the PPP loan forgiveness.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was updated Dec. 14 to include the fact that Invoca returned its PPP funds shortly after receiving the loan.