‘Incredible feeling’ as small businesses take advantage of PPP loan head start

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — On February 26, a two-week window opened up for small businesses — with 20 employees or less — to apply for the latest round of Paycheck Protection Program loans before the rest of the businesses can apply.

“It is putting the bigger companies on pause for a couple weeks,” said Mid Penn Bank president and CEO Rory Ritrievi. “This is a really good thing for the independent contractors and the really small companies.”

Mid Bank has branches throughout Pennsylvania, including in the Philadelphia suburbs. Ritrievi said businesses have been showing interest in these loans well before the application process began.

As a community banker for 35 years, he said there’s been no feeling more rewarding than helping the businesses hit hardest by the pandemic.

“When you have an ability to do something like PPP,” he described, “which saves so many businesses and so many people, and these are the same people — they go to the same grocery stores as us and the same places of worship and the same gymnasiums. It’s just the most incredible feeling in the world.”

Smaller businesses have until March 10 to apply for PPP before the floodgates open for all businesses seeking a loan.

Ritrievi said it’s a good idea for the businesses that can apply now to do it by that date.

“I think the best advice I can have is do your research a little bit, find a bank that is good at this, get your application in and hopefully the bank will continue to communicate with you, but stay on top of it,” he suggested.

He said after the PPP applications last spring, many of the businesses his company worked with to get them PPP money followed up with thank you messages and comments.

Ritrievi put those “heartwarming and touching” messages together into a book.

“I can show you that book and you would probably tear up about some of the comments people made because it was life-saving,” he added.

He sent a copy of the book to President Joe Biden.

More on the PPP loans and application process can be found here.