NORTH CAROLINA — The Paycheck Protection Program was supposed to be a lifeline for small businesses sinking as the pandemic set in, forcing many to close.
But it turns out, North Carolina only got about 2.5 percent of the money loaned.
The non-profit group Piedmont Rising said of the 890,000 small businesses in North Carolina with fewer than 500 employees, only 66,000 got money to cover payroll.
The study also found minority-owner, female-owned and rural small businesses, in particular, were left out of Paycheck Protection funds.
“It looks like to the public that the government is doing a lot to help small businesses, but I think most small businesses are in the same boat I am, which is that we got no help,” Asheville business owner Derek Poteat said.
The non-profit also found that banks that offered PPP loans, including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, prioritized larger loan applications and charged higher fees in order to maximize loan-organization fees and their own profits.