Guests walk through the historic Market Square building.
Guests walk through the historic Market Square building which is filled with small vendors that are unable to operate during current local restrictions. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

Nearly 135,000 of the 1.6 million forgivable business loans approved by the Small Business Administration before funds were rapidly depleted went to Texas business owners – the most of any state.

It took only two weeks for the $349 billion forgivable loan program, offered starting April 3 by the federal government as a lifeline for businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, to be depleted.

On Friday, the Small Business Administration (SBA) released data showing the agency had so far approved more than 1.6 million Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans totaling $342,277,999,103. The number of loans processed in 14 days amounted to more than 14 years of loans, said a statement from the SBA.

The SBA approved $28 billion in loans for Texas businesses. California loan applications approved by the SBA numbered almost 113,000, for a total of more than $33 billion.

Florida had 89,000 loans approved for a total of almost $18 billion, and New York had more than 81,000 loans approved totaling more than $20 billion.

The agency set individual PPP loan limits at $10 million. Nearly three-quarters of the applications it approved were for loans of $150,000 or less. The overall average loan size was $206,000. More than 4,000 loans were worth more than $5 million.

The SBA said Friday it has stopped accepting new applications for PPP and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)-COVID-19 related assistance program. EIDL applications will continue to be processed on a first-come, first-served basis and other SBA debt relief programs are available.

While many banks also have stopped accepting new PPP loan applications, several institutions are still accepting applications on behalf of San Antonio businesses. Those include Bank of America, The Bank of San Antonio, BBVA, Credit Union, and Wells Fargo. Microlender LiftFund has stopped taking PPP applications but allows business owners to complete an online “interest form” for when the process opens again.

Nearly 5,000 lenders have processed PPP loans nationwide.

Of the 20 industries the SBA listed in its data report, the construction sector was approved the most loan dollars, at $45 billion. Professional, scientific, and technical services (which had the highest number of applications) was approved for $43 billion; manufacturing for $41 billion; health care and social assistance for almost $40 billion, and the accommodation and food services sector, $30.5 billion.

On Friday, Gov. Greg Abbott announced he plans to slowly reopen the Texas economy next week by loosening surgery restrictions at medical facilities, allowing all retail stores to provide product pickups, and reopening state parks.

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Shari Biediger

Shari Biediger is the development beat reporter for the San Antonio Report.