Small business owners look to qualify for second round of federal stimulus money


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – One small business owner reached out to 8 On Your Side frustrated at her bank. She says it failed to process her application for federal money that would help save her business.

Limelight Photography has captured moments of love for 15 years.

“It’s a happy business to be in. We have a passion for weddings. We love connecting with our brides and grooms,” said Rebecca Zoumberos who owns Limelight Photography with her husband.

But the COVID-19 pandemic has forced couples to postpone or cancel their weddings.

“There’s been a grinding halt to the event industry right now,” said Zoumberos.

She saw hope when Congress passed a bill that would disperse $349 billion in forgivable loans to small business owners.

“This was just a lifeline to get us through until we could get to the busy Fall season and we get back to our normal,” said Zoumberos.

She went to where she’s gone for more than 30 years; Bank of America.

“We have seen nothing except for headaches, and lies, and the runaround,” said Zoumberos.

Over 55 hours on the phone later and with the first round of stimulus money gone Zoumberos hopes her application will be ready for a second round just approved by Congress. She also applied at a smaller bank which is what financial experts recommend.

“I don’t think it hurts to fill out multiple applications,” said Gerri Detweiler with Nav Inc. Financial Services.

With the second round of $310 billion set to run out even faster than the first round, financial experts recommend going to smaller lending institutions. The Small Business Administration set aside money in round two that will go specifically to small community and online lenders.

“It’s going to be a mad rush in round two so it’s really important that borrowers get in line so they can hopefully get funded in this next round,” said Detweiler.

Detweiler says there are companies like Nav that help connect small businesses to lenders offering PPP loans. There are also other resources available to small business owners.

The Small Business Administration has more information that small business owners can use when applying for PPP loans.

A Bank of America representative reached out to 8 On Your Side and tells us they are looking into Zoumberos’ application.


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