Congress and White House Reach Deal on More Coronavirus Relief

A deal has been reached for a new funding package for Small Business Administration loans.

The bill provides a further $450 billion in assistance during the coronavirus outbreak.

The deal adds $310 billion to the CARES Act’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and $50 billion for the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program.

“ASTA commends Congressional leadership and the Trump Administration for their quick action to replenish the CARES Act’s Paycheck Protection Program and increase funding for the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program,” said Zane Kerby, President and CEO of the American Society of Travel Advisors. “While these programs are far from perfect, they have provided financial relief to some of our members, and the additional funding will mean more relief for more travel agencies. The need for increased funding is particularly acute, as member survey data show a large number of ASTA members have thus far been unable to access relief under either program, which we view as unacceptable.

“Our laser-focus in the coming weeks and months will be securing the maximum amount of financial relief for the greatest number of our members, so they can survive the immediate crisis and be prepared for an eventual recovery. We will also support any and all measures to renew consumer confidence in the U.S. economy and in the travel industry in particular, such as widespread, consistent and quick coronavirus testing and work toward an eventual vaccine. Doing so will help instill consumer confidence and get America’s economy, and its intrepid travelers, moving again.”

The refunding of the PPP loans was a key priority for travel advisors with a majority of agents filing for these loans as well as EIDL.

ASTA research showed that 66 percent of its members had applied for loans from the program and that just 20 percent had been approved.

Despite the popularity of the PPP loans, many advisors struggled with the process of getting them.

Almost 40 percent found the process very difficult, 26.8 percent said that it was moderately difficult and 17.3 percent found it somewhat difficult.

Some advisors also noted that it was also a struggle to find a bank. Just over 38 percent had difficulty finding a bank, credit union or other financial institution that was willing to accept their application.

The EIDL program was also an option that many travel advisors opted for when seeking financial relief. Nearly 64 percent of advisors had applied.

Feedback on the process was slightly better with 26.1 percent finding the process difficult, 22.6 percent moderately difficult and 17.8 percent somewhat difficult.

However, just 7.1 percent had been approved for a loan.

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