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Bobby Lawson talks about the importance of quality financial advice during a downturn

Bobby Lawson is the Vice President of Finance at Complete Funding Group based in California, USA, and he has a great deal of firsthand experience helping businesses access the equity they need with the minimal amount of risk. In the wake of the current economic downturn affecting the United States (and the world at large), Bobby and his team have been helping small business understand more about how they can access the Government’s Paycheck Protection Program to help them offset their losses and retain their staff.

Bobby was kind enough to take a break from his busy work schedule and answer some questions about Complete Funding Group and how they are helping small business, especially during the current economic uncertainty.

What was your journey in entering the finance industry and becoming Vice President of Finance at Complete Funding Group?

My 8-year journey in the finance industry started as a customer support center helping real estate agents with their websites. My passion for servicing people, was challenged with an opportunity to help all small business owners in the USA. My passion for great customer support moved me from an account executive to V.P. Of Finance. Topping out at managing over 50 employees and servicing 3 locations, I knew serving small business owners will always be in my future.

What is the paycheck protection program and how can businesses use it to their benefit?

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a government relief financing program (spun up as part of the CARES Act) offered through SBA lenders, FDIC-insured banks, federally insured credit unions, Farm Credit System Institutions, and some non-bank lenders.  The Small Business Administration guarantees eligible loans at 100% to incentivize lenders to issue these loans. PPP loans provide small businesses with funds to pay up to 8 weeks of payroll costs (including benefits), mortgage interest, rent and utilities.  The loan is forgivable if used for any of these purposes. If used for other purposes, the loan will be subject to repayment over a 2-year term.

What requirements does a business need to be eligible for the program?

All businesses, nonprofit entities, veteran’s organization, and Tribal business concerns, so long as the borrowing entity does not have more than 500 employees (or the applicable size standard for the industry as provided by SBA). Business must be operational as of February 15, 2020 and had employees for whom it paid salaries and payroll taxes, or a paid independent contractor.

What types of investments do people make in their businesses with these loans?

PPP loans will help small businesses, including sole proprietors and independent contractors, and private nonprofits maintain payrolls and continue necessary payroll-related payments like rent and utilities. The full allowable uses of the loan are:

  • Payroll costs: Compensation in the form of salaries, wages, commissions (or similar compensation), cash tip payments (or the equivalent)
  • Healthcare costs: Any costs related to the continuation of group healthcare benefits, including insurance premiums
  • Mortgage interest payments (but not payments on the mortgage principal)
  • Rent
  • Utilities
  • Interest on any other debt obligations incurred before February 15, 2020

How do you ensure you find the best possible loan options?

In order to have the best chance of getting a PPP loan, small businesses need to do their homework. A lack of preparation is one of the most common mistakes that owners made when applying for PPP loans during the first round. Not only should small business owners start preparing to file now, but they should be careful when choosing a lender. Make sure you work with a partner that will offer good service and help get your file to the SBA system.

Do you think that with the help of the paycheck protection program that small businesses can survive the downturn intact?

The PPP loans are designed to provide the assistance that business owners desperately need, but many of them are reporting that the emergency lending programs currently in place simply are not helping them right now… and the clock is ticking. If they don’t get funding ASAP, hundreds – if not thousands – of businesses across the country will shut their doors forever. I’m not sure if this will help already failing business, but you must at least try.

Thank you Bobby for your time!
You can follow up with Bobby Lawson here.