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Help is on the way for Oklahoma small businesses affected by coronavirus

EDMOND, Okla. —
Financial help is on the way in Oklahoma thanks to a paycheck protection program that provides incentives to small businesses who keep their workers on payroll.

To qualify for the program, Latest Oklahoma News the small business must have less than 500 employees. The Small Business Administration then will forgive loans if all employees are kept on payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest or utilities.

"Getting cash to our small businesses is so important right now because many of them are struggling from a revenue standpoint," said Jill Castilla, CEO and president of Citizens Bank of Edmond. "This will get them an immediate cash infusion to be able to retain their staff for at least the next eight weeks."

Castilla told KOCO 5 that there have been over 1,000 inquiries about the paycheck protection program within the last few days. She said they've already approved $2 million in loans so far, with the average size of the loan being more than $80,000.

"The businesses are like the neighborhood cafe or lunch spot or small manufacturing company," Castilla said.

According to Castilla, her staff has been working around the clock to process those loans and to get the money out.

"They're giving up their weekends and their nights and mornings to serve our communities and customers," she said.

KOCO 5 spoke with a tax attorney last week to break down how the paycheck protection program will work.

"The big features of that one is they'll take 12 months of your annual payroll last year, and average that into a one-month average, Press Release Distribution Service " said Travis Watkins, the principal and senior attorney for Travis Watkins Tax. "Take that times 2.5 or 250% of the one-month's annual average, and that'll be the amount for that loan. If you use the loan for certain things, such as payroll, utilities, rent, mortgage interest, if you use them on those four things, then they are forgivable.

"You have to use them within eight weeks of funding."

There is a 24-hour to 48-hour process before those loans are sent out to business owners.

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