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Resources >   Growth and Operations  >  COVID-19 Resources  >  

COVID-19: What Every Small Business Needs to Know

COVID-19 Resources

COVID-19: What Every Small Business Needs to Know

Updated: Mar 26, 2020

COVID-19: What Every Small Business Needs to Know

A Whole New World for Small Businesses

The current global pandemic caused by COVID-19 is affecting hundreds of thousands of people. It is also having a growing impact on the worldwide economy that is being felt most acutely by small businesses. 

At Funding Circle, we’re here to help. Keep reading for tips and resources to help you stay informed. Continue to visit our Resource Center for relevant news, information and data.

Legislative Measures

What We Are Doing

Our priority is to get capital to small businesses as quickly and safely as possible. Here’s what we are doing at the federal level to make that happen.

As the world’s largest online small business lender, we are working tirelessly to make sure responsible state licensed and regulated lenders like Funding Circle are included in any legislative program to help save small businesses and jobs.

The Senate’s “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” includes our eligibility to participate in the Treasury Small Business Interruption Loan Program.

This bill proposes the best solution to getting small businesses access to responsible capital as quickly as possible by leveraging the speed, distribution and capacity of online small business lenders such as Funding Circle. The 100% government guarantee also ensures that as many small businesses get access to loans as possible and for small businesses that keep employees on the payroll, all or part of the loan can be forgiven. We are focused on making sure this gets over the line.

Lastly, Congress may choose to fund the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) Capital Access Programs as the Treasury did through the Jobs Act in 2010. These are federal funds administered by states similar to that of the SBA. However, the 2010 legislation specified that “only insured depository institutions, insured credit unions, or community development financial institutions as defined in section 103 of the Riegle Community Development and Regulatory Improvement Act of 1994 are eligible to participate” which excludes state licensed and regulated lenders like Funding Circle. 

We will be focused on making sure that we are eligible to participate in this program if Congress decides to fund it again. If we are included, we will be able to offer loans to more small businesses, especially underserved small businesses. 

While we are in the midst of an unprecedented crisis, this is an opportunity for us to help save our economy. We are in a position of great responsibility, Funding Circle is standing together to answer the call to help save the dreams of entrepreneurs and jobs of a quarter million Americans.

Assistance Programs by State

Please find the complete list of government programs below

Miscellaneous Assistance Programs

What You Can Do

While health and government officials are working together to maintain the safety, security, and health of the American people, small businesses are encouraged to do their part to keep their employees, customers, and themselves healthy. We are sharing this guidance from the Small Business Administration with you in hopes it will help you protect yourself, your employees, your customers, and your business: 

  • Actively encourage sick employees to stay home
  • Separate sick employees
  • Emphasize staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene by all employees
  • Perform routine environmental cleaning
  • Advise employees before traveling to take specific steps
  • Check the CDC’s Traveler’s Health Notices for the latest guidance and recommendations for each country to which you will travel. Specific travel information for travelers going to and returning from designated countries with risk of community spread of Coronavirus, and information for aircrew, can be found on the CDC website.
  • Additional Measures in Response to Currently Occurring Sporadic Importations of the COVID-19:
  • Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.
  • If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Employees exposed to a co-worker with confirmed COVID-19 should refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.

Common Issues Small Businesses May Encounter:

  • Capital Access – Incidents can strain a small business’s financial capacity to make payroll, maintain inventory, and respond to market fluctuations (both sudden drops and surges in demand). Businesses should prepare by exploring and testing their capital access options, so they have what they need when they need it. 
  • Workforce Capacity – Incidents have just as much impact on your workers as they do your clientele. It’s critical to ensure they can fulfill their duties while protected.
  • Inventory and Supply Chain Shortfalls – While the possibility could be remote, it is a prudent preparedness measure to ensure you have either adequate supplies of stock for a sustained period and/or diversify your distributor sources in the event one supplier cannot meet an order request.
  • Facility Remediation/Clean-up Costs – There may be a need to enhance the protection of customers and staff by increasing the frequency and intensity by which your business conducts cleaning of surfaces frequently touched by occupants and visitors. Check your maintenance contracts and supplies of cleaning materials to ensure they can meet increases in demand.
  • Insurance Coverage Issues – Many businesses have business interruption insurance; Now is the time to contact your insurance agent to review your policy to precisely understand your coverage in the event of an extended incident.
  • Changing Market Demand – There may be access controls or movement restrictions established, which can impede your customers from reaching your business. Additionally, there may be public concerns about public exposure to an incident, and they may decide not to go to your business out of apprehension they may be exposing themselves to greater risk. SBA’s Resources Partners and District Offices have trained experts who can help you craft a plan specific to your situation to help navigate any rapid changes in demand.
  • Marketing – It’s critical to communicate openly with your customers about the status of your operations, what protective measures you’ve implemented, and how they (as customers) will be protected when they visit your business. Promotions may also help incentivize customers who may be reluctant to patronize your business.
  • Plan – As a business, bring your staff together and prepare a plan for what you will do if the incident worsens or improves. It’s also helpful to conduct a tabletop exercise to simulate potential scenarios and how your business management and staff might respond to the hypothetical situation in this activity. For examples of tabletop exercises, visit FEMA’s website at: https://www.fema.gov/emergency-planning-exercises

Recommended Reading

5 Key Things in the $2 Trillion Coronavirus Stimulus Package

by Catie Edmondson, The New York Times, 3/25/20

“Small businesses will receive emergency loans if they keep their workers.”

What’s in Congress’s $2 Trillion Coronavirus Stimulus Package

by Elizabeth Wasserman, Bloomberg, 3/25/20

“The massive stimulus package negotiated between the Trump administration and congressional leaders early Wednesday is an unprecedented $2 trillion aid package designed to help the public and the economy to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic.”

Fintech lenders find an opening in $2T coronavirus relief package

by Anna Hrushka, Banking Dive, 3/26/20

“Ryan Metcalf, head of U.S. regulatory affairs and social impact at Funding Circle, told Forbes nonbank online lenders have a critical role to play in the crisis. ‘Funding Circle approves loans in under 24 hours and funds them in three days, whereas banks take on average a little over a month,’ he said. ‘Looking at SBA disaster relief funds, it’s over 30 days for those.’”

Early Wednesday morning, a $2 trillion stimulus package was passed by the Trump administration and congressional leaders. More than $350 billion dollars will be allocated towards aiding small businesses. Businesses with less than 500 employees will be able to apply for an emergency loan under the Paycheck Protection Program. Fintech leaders will be eligible lenders in this program to provide relief to most small businesses as quickly as possible.

Links to Relevant Resource Center Articles

We’ve put together a dedicated COVID-19 section on our Resource Center. We’ll continue to update this section with more updates and helpful articles.

Quick list of ‘Manage My Loan FAQs

Is there a prepayment penalty or fee?

No, we won’t charge you extra to pay your loan off early. Plus, you only have to pay interest for the time you borrow — so if you pay it off early, you pay less.

If I make a manual payment before my automatic payment, will my automatic payment also go through?

Yes, we will continue to process your automatic payments every month unless you specifically ask us to stop them. Please let us know of any changes at least 5 days in advance of your automated payment date in order for the change to be updated in our system. You can still make a manual payment, but it will be in addition to the automatic payments.

How do I make an additional payment?

You can make an additional payment at any time by calling and requesting a one-time electronic transfer. Please note that we are unable to accept multiple daily electronic transfer payments. You may also be able to set up one-time or recurring wire transfers or check payments from your bank account, although some banks may charge a fee for this service. Additionally, if you’d prefer, you can make additional payments by mailed check.

You may use these processes to break up your monthly payments into multiple, smaller payments. However, be sure that the full monthly payment amount is received by the due date to avoid late fees.

Where can I find my payment history and current loan balance?

You can view your payment history and current loan balance by logging into your dashboard. Unfortunately, we cannot yet accept payments in the dashboard. You can also contact us with any questions, including inquiries about your payment history and current loan balance, at loanquestions@fundingcircle.com or (866) 679-7966.

What if there is an issue with my statement?

If you think there’s an issue with your statement, we want to help correct it right away. Please email or call us at loanquestions@fundingcircle.com or (866) 679-7966.

What should I do if I think I’m going to miss a payment?

If at any time you believe that you may not be able to make one or more repayments, please contact us immediately.

If you miss a payment or only partially pay the amount due, we (or an agent acting on our behalf) will contact you and ask you to explain why and will attempt to collect the payment. If you’re unable to make the payment, your account will be overdue. If your monthly payment is more than 10 days late, we may charge a late fee of up to 5% of the payment amount. The late fee will be payable immediately and is in addition to the missed payment.

Save in exceptional circumstances (such circumstances being deemed exceptional by Funding Circle in its absolute discretion from time to time), if you miss, fail to pay or only partially pay, three or more consecutive monthly installments or four out of six consecutive monthly installments, or if you otherwise fail to comply with any term or condition of the loan agreements, the loan may be placed into default. We will notify you of the default, and our intent to collect all amounts owed from the business and, if necessary, the personal guarantor(s).

If your loan is placed into default we may charge fees to cover tracing charges, field agents’ costs, litigation costs, expenses and other such third party fees incurred by Funding Circle in the course of protecting the interests of the investors who lent to the business.

Is there a late fee for missed payments?

If your monthly payment is more than 10 days late, we may charge a late fee of up to 5% of each missed payment amount. The late fee will be payable immediately and is in addition to the missed payment.

For a full list of FAQs, please see HERE.

At Funding Circle, our goal is to help small businesses like yours grow, create jobs, support local communities, and drive the economy forward. If you are currently a Funding Circle customer, please reach out to us at 1-866-679-7966 or email us at loanquestions@fundingcircle.com. If you are new to exploring Funding Circle, welcome!

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