Last week when it became clear that companies like Shake Shack, Potbelly and AutoNation had received loans while others struggled to gain approval, the tone changed dramatically, with Mnuchin saying the program was not aimed at certain companies and working to tighten eligibility requirements. Companies with “substantial market value and access to capital markets” should be prepared to demonstrate why they need the money, the Treasury Department said.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the Small Business Administration had approved a total of nearly two million loans. President Trump, eager to present the program as a success, hosted an event at the White House with recipients of small business loans.
“We are processing loans at a rate never seen before,” he said, adding that he was happy that more loans seemed to reach small businesses in the second cycle of the program. The President introduced everyone from the owner of a seafood restaurant in Virginia to the owner of a cafe in North Carolina to say how grateful they were for the money.
Over 100 companies disclosed loans over $ 2 million, but most chose to keep the money. So far, only 22 private and public companies have disclosed the return of their funds, including the Los Angeles Lakers. Most money-repaying companies insist they qualify under the original Treasury Department terms, but have chosen to pay back the loans after the Treasury changes its focus to avoid bad publicity.
The Lakers, who have around 300 employees, were most likely eligible for the loan because the law made eligible companies with 500 or fewer employees residing in the United States. Like the rest of the National Basketball Association, the team suffered a financial blow as games were suspended for over a month. Lakers management believed the team was in compliance with the terms of the program when it applied, according to a person with knowledge of the team’s thinking.
“The Lakers qualified and received a payroll protection loan loan,” the franchise said in a statement, adding that it had decided to pay back the money “once we found out that program funds had been exhausted “.
DMC Global, a Colorado-based energy and industrial company, also said it believed it qualified for its $ 6.7 million loan, but chose to repay it “to avoid any further dispute at a time when the ‘business environment is the most difficult “.