A second round of emergency funding for small businesses opened on Monday.
While this news came as a relief for many small business owners, it appears that error messages and slow processing have prevented many from accessing the fund. A spokesperson for the SBA said, "The pacing mechanism prevents any one lender from submitting thousands of loans an hour into the E-TRAN system. If a lender goes above the pacing limit they will get timed out."
But CNN reports that a banking industry source said that things are actually much worse than the SBA made it seem. "The SBA system simply cannot handle the volume of applications banks have processed from America's small businesses," this person said, adding: "Unless SBA set the pace at one an hour (or less), this is nothing but misdirection. Banks are working to deliver assistance and SBA is passing the blame."
In fairness, the SBA typically hands out about $25 billion in loans every calendar year. Thanks to the global health crisis, they're now suddenly trying to get $310 billion in PPP loans out the door as quickly as possible, so delays are to be expected.
But, even more worryingly, there is a major possibility many small businesses won't see any money this time around either. The last pot of money given out to small businesses was, obviously, insufficient in addressing the needs of many American business owners impacted by the crisis. So how far will the money go this time? Multiple industry experts contacted by CNN "anticipate that this money could be gone within the week. Last time, it took 13 days, but banks have a much longer queue of customers this round."
In summary, millions of eligible businesses are not going to get PPP funding, even if they applied in a timely manner. If you've already submitted an application, all you can do now is hope and wait.
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When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.
A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.
One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.
The Federal Reserve
The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.
This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.
The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.
Whether you're leaving a job involuntarily, departing for something new, or just want to prepare for the unknown, it is smart to understand all your options regarding your 401k.
Frugal gifting often gets a bad reputation. However, this shopping method does not make you cheap — it makes you practical. Frugal gifts often avoid waste and overspending and can be just as meaningful (if not more so) as any other present.
With the National Retail Federation predicting each consumer this holiday season to spend upwards of $1,000 on holiday gifts amidst an economic recession —this year might be the perfect time to reconsider your spending budget. We've formulated the ultimate list of frugal gift-giving ideas to get you started.