New Hampshire banks have approved at least 1,980 loans under the federal Paycheck Protection Program worth $404.9 million, according to an industry group.
The loans will save 10,818 jobs, according to the New Hampshire Bankers Association.
“This snapshot of PPP data is a conservative, early estimate of the loans being made to support small businesses who have been impacted by COVID-19 in a way that no one could have ever imagined,” association president Kristy Merrill said in a statement.
More than 100,000 Granite Staters applied for unemployment benefits over a three-week period after many businesses shuttered or shed staff after government restrictions went into effect in mid-March to stem the coronavirus pandemic, according to state figures.
“The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll,” according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. “SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities”.
Lenders could start processing loan applications on April 3. The program runs through June 30.
The bankers association said 37 New Hampshire banks are participating in the program and approved $404,855,796 through Thursday.
Among those applying for the program was Joe Teixeira, who co-owns Moe Joe’s Country Diner, where business is down 70%, and Moe Joe’s Family Restaurant, which was reopening to serve ice cream and takeout.
Teixeira furloughed most of his 37 employees at his Manchester locations.
“I applied for the loan, so if I get it, I can bring everybody back to work,” he said this week.
The association said not all banks could break out figures for how many jobs would be saved, and some multi-state banks were unable to break out New Hampshire-specific numbers.
“Each one of these jobs saved represents critical support for a Granite State family in need,” Merrill said.
Starting Friday, sole proprietors and independent contractors are eligible for PPP loans, according to Merrill.
She urged small business owners affected by the coronavirus to reach out to their bank for financial assistance.