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Coronavirus. Small firms seek emergency loans in massive numbers, causing snags

Banks are struggling to handle a massive surge of applications for loans aimed at helping small businesses keep workers on staff and pay other bills as the coronavirus pandemic takes a growing toll on the economy.

How quickly the loans — which are forgivable if a small businesses retains its workers – can be disbursed is likely to determine what portion of the firms can survive the crisis, which has shut down restaurants, stores and other Main Street concerns across the country.

The Federal Reserve, meanwhile, said Monday that it’s creating a program to purchase the loans, which should make billions of dollars in additional funds available to banks.

The Treasury Department and Small Business Administration allowed firms with less than 500 employees to start applying for the loans on Friday, but the early rollout has been marred by confusion, technical glitches and banks’ own loan volume limits.   

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