Alaska businesses got $922 million from PPP before the federal well ran dry

Central business districts all over Alaska are quiet. This file photo shows downtown Sitka (KCAW)

Nearly 5,000 Alaska businesses got money from the the Paycheck Protection Program before the federal loan guarantees hit the statutory limit this week.

The average loan amount was $190,000, for an Alaska total of $922 million, according to the Small Business Administration.

The Triple P is a big part of the CARES Act, the coronavirus relief bill Congress passed last month. Thousands of businesses in Alaska have been looking to the low-interest loan program as a lifeline, especially because the loans convert to grants if the money is spent on payroll and other qualifying expenses.

Alaska businesses began getting their PPP disbursements last week. Many more have submitted applications.

RELATED 5 things to know about business Paycheck Protection Program loans

Northrim Bank Chief Operating Officer Michael Martin said Thursday that funds are still on the way for some applicants.

“If your loan officer – not just for Northrim, but if any bank has called you and said ‘yes, we do have an authorization ‘… (or) ‘your loan was approved by the SBA,’ then it’s just the workflow of getting the money out into people’s accounts as quickly as possible,” Martin said.

The staff at Northrim and other banks are working long hours and will be disbursing money over the weekend, too, Martin said.

As for the applications that the Small Business Administration did not approve before the money ran out, Martin said the banks will hold on to them. Congress and the Trump administration are talking about another round of funding.

“I know there’s probably great despair or fear or panic for those folks who haven’t heard from their financial institution or who have heard that their application has not been approved, but I think there is more to come on this,” Martin said.

RELATED: Alaska banks can’t keep up with demand for coronavirus relief money

Michael Martin is chief operating officer of Northrim Bank (Northrim)

SBA District Director Nancy Porzio confirmed PPP applicants don’t need to fill out forms again, but she suggests they contact their bank to ask about their status.

Another coronavirus relief fund that ran dry is the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans. SBA spokesman Kevin Wynne said people who submitted applications while the website was still accepting them should hold on to their confirmation numbers. If Congress appropriates more money, approved applicants will be in a queue to receive EIDL funds, which may include a $10,000 cash advance.

Alaskans also began receiving direct federal assistance this week. That’s the payment of $1,200 per adult and $500 per child that most Americans will receive.

But many households and business owners have yet to get any financial help from the programs that were suppose to quickly compensate for the economic shutdown.

Zia Boccacio from Juneau said her business, like so many others, is a product of creativity and a lot of hard work.

“For me, personally, it’s my American dream,” she told Alaska’s U.S. senators in the teleconference Thursday. Her voice broke and she apologized. “One that, for no fault of mine, I’ve seen escaping from my hands.”

Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent at Alaska Public Media. Reach her at Read more about Liz here.

Previous articleConocoPhillips cuts spending in Alaska by another $200M as oil prices sink
Next articleState of Art: A poem from Don Rearden, a virtual First Friday from the Anchorage Museum and revisiting Arctic Entries