PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -  Arizona ranked last in the United States for paycheck protection loans granted by the Small Business Administration, according to data compiled by the Associated Press and analyzed by CBS 5 Investigates.

The Paycheck Protection Program was intended to help small businesses keep their doors open and retain employees during the economic downturn created by the COVID-19 outbreak.

In theory, small businesses could access the money in low-interest loans, which would be forgiven in some cases if enough employees were kept on staff. But the program's $349 billion ran dry after just 14 days.

"I applied for it the first day it was made available through my local bank," said David Reddish, who owns Regal Cleaners in central Phoenix. His business dropped 75% last month, and he was hoping the PPP loan would help him get through the next eight weeks.

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"I was about to be funded last week, either Wednesday or Thursday. But [I] came to find out that the program ran out of money on Wednesday evening," said Reddish. Now, he's keeping the business afloat by using his savings.

According to data compiled by the Associated Press, 19,280 loans were approved for Arizona businesses, totaling $4.8 billion.

CBS 5 Investigates analyzed the numbers and compared Arizona's figures to those from other states. When taking into account the state population, Arizona came in last in terms of the number of loans per capita [number of loans per 100,000 residents]. That means the ratio of loans to population was smaller in Arizona than in any other state.

North Dakota, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska and Maine topped the list in that order.

"There are also a wide variety of factors that could affect the number of Arizona businesses that applied for or received PPP loans, and we’re not going to speculate on the results in this first round. The number of banks in a particular state is a significant factor. For example, Colorado has nearly doubled the number of banks that Arizona does – 130 while Arizona has 68," according to a statement by the Arizona Commerce Authority [ACA] issued to CBS 5 Investigates.

The ACA statement also indicated that the "first come, first served" approach set up by the SBA may have created challenges for "under-banked, under-served, and minority-owned businesses."

"This was for the big guys who knew how to get the money, and they were ready for it," said Kara Goodyke, who owns Arrowpoint Home Inspections, along with her husband.

Goodyke said she did not get a chance to apply for a loan through the PPP, because her business is too small. But she complained that she has read about several big corporations receiving millions of dollars through the program.

"There should be a program for the sole proprietorships. We are who Arizona is," said Goodyke.

Lawmakers in Washington, D.C. are set to add new funding to the PPP this week.

"It is important to note that there are thousands of applications still pending that could result in several billions more dollars for Arizona businesses," according to the ACA.

Morgan Loew's hard-hitting investigations can be seen weekdays on CBS 5 News at 6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.
 
 

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