When the U.S. Treasury Department launched a new $ 284 billion small business round of COVID-19 funding on Wednesday, City Comptroller Scott Stringer announced a plan to help NYC get a bigger slice of the pie .
The NYC mayoral candidate asked City Hall to compile a “comprehensive list” of financial institutions that have access to federal payroll protection law to share with small businesses.
He also urged staff at the city’s Small Business Service agency to go door-to-door to encourage mom and pop shop owners to apply for funding, as well as more bilingual contacts with immigrant communities.
“We can’t sit back and think that people are only getting this funding,” Stringer said at an event in Chinatown on Wednesday. “It wasn’t the last time and it won’t happen again if this city government doesn’t mobilize.”
Although New York City is at the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, it has been widely reported to be small business hosed down last year when it came to government stimulus spending.
According to Stringer, only 12 percent of the 1.1 million eligible businesses in Gotham received funding last year, despite the fact that the Fed had spent $ 522 billion to help small businesses survive the pandemic and keep the workforce. In contrast, 24 percent of businesses in Nebraska received funding, even though New York was the pandemic-hit state in the Union at the time.
“And when you look at who got PPP city by city, we found even more differences,” said Stringer. “As I ran the numbers, we found that more than 60,000 companies were getting loans, up from fewer than 10,000 in the Bronx. Companies say the applications were complicated and limited, or that they simply didn’t know about the program. This is unacceptable.”
But, as The Post reported last year, many NYC-based small business owners complained about filing for funding last year go away empty-handed. And some big banks have even been accused of providing theirs wealthier customers first, including some major public companies like Shake Shack and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse,
Small business owner Eileen Guzzo came to Stringer and shared her difficulties in getting a PPP loan from a large bank last year. She said things changed when she filed her application with the New York-based community bank Ponce.
“You were fantastic,” said Guzzo on Wednesday. “The platform on which you applied for PPP was completely transparent and easy to understand.”