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Small Business Lending Program Reaches New Milestone

April 29, 2020

Carbondale, Illinois is home to approximately 25,000 people. This mid-sized town, tucked in the Southern part of the Prairie State, has been rocked by the coronavirus, but a new federal program has provided some relief.

The pandemic has forced businesses of all sizes to make tough decisions, in order to promote health and public safety. Some have even had to make the choice of whether or not to furlough employees.

But thanks to the Paycheck Protection Program, Michael Harris has been able to keep his workers paid.

Harris, a life-long resident of Illinois, is an insurance broker for Country Financial.

Raised on a family farm and to date still raising beef cattle, Harris joined the industry in 1987. He got into insurance to “fulfill a valuable need in our community” and seeks to help “friends and neighbors achieve their goals.”

His office employs three full time staff. In a comment on Facebook, Mr. Harris credited PPP for his ability to retain all three workers during this pandemic.

“I have been able to keep my 3 employees all working full time thanks to this program,” Mr. Harris said.

Congress approved a second tranche of funding for PPP last week. From that $320 billion fund, over 475,000 loans totaling $52 billion from over 5,100 lenders have been issued. This milestone for PPP on Wednesday means that the program has now approved over 2 million loans, totaling near $400 billion dollars.

Rep. Kevin Brady, the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, called this news “historic.”

In a tweet, the Texan noted that the average loan of $206,000 is “Main Street size.” Brady also said that this program supported 30 million American workers, helping to keep their jobs intact.

“Congress ought to be looking at what more we need to do to help businesses reopen,” Brady said on Fox Business. “In a way that is safe and healthy for their workers and their customers.”