GILBERT, AZ (3 On Your Side) - If this were a typical year, machines at Genuine Machine Products would be running nonstop, pumping out parts for the aerospace and defense industries. While business slowed for the Gilbert-based company when the pandemic hit, the federal government's Paycheck Protection Program kept employees on the payroll for a couple of months, according to the company's president, Nate Ankrom.
"It was a great bump. It really helped us," Ankrom told 3 On Your Side. "Our No. 1 asset is our people."
When PPP funding ran out, the company was forced to make some layoffs and implement furloughs.
"We have a long way to go to recover," Ankrom said.
Now the company is trying to navigate the PPP loan forgiveness process.
"It seemed like every other week we would get a different set of parameters," Ankrom said.
The U.S. Small Business Administration began accepting forgiveness applications at the beginning of October, but some lenders say they still don't have enough information from the federal government to process the applications.
"Most lenders right now are not taking applications for the SBA forgiveness. They can. Banks can do that. But right now we feel like there's some additional guidance that needs to come so we can properly process those applications and then also making sure there's nothing within that application that changes," said Jeff Freisen, the president of the Arizona region for Enterprise Bank and Trust.
Enterprise Bank and Trust helped hundreds of Arizona businesses secure PPP loans.
"This program was a lifeline for many, many small businesses, and it really did what it was supposed to do. It kept people at work," Friesen said. "It's crucial now that they're able to complete the forgiveness and know that they have that."
Because of the uncertainty, Friesen said it is critical for businesses to stay in constant communication with their lenders, just like Genuine Machine Products is doing.
"We're anxious, just like everyone else, to understand what do we owe, when do we owe it," Ankrom said. "We're still very much on a holding pattern, and that holding pattern, there's not much I can do about it."
This month, the SBA rolled out a special forgiveness application for businesses that received $50,000 or less in PPP money. The application is just two pages.
"We are committed to making the PPP forgiveness process as simple as possible while also protecting against fraud and misuse of funds," said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. "We continue to favor additional legislation to further simplify the forgiveness process."
Nationwide, small businesses received 5.2 million PPP loans worth $525 billion.