DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — The owner of a small Dallas restaurant said Wednesday he has been approved for a loan from the Small Business Administration, and he credited a CBS 11 story about him that aired last week for making it a reality.
Russell Birk, who owns Maya’s Modern Mediterranean restaurant, had been waiting for weeks to find out whether he’d receive a loan under the agency’s Paycheck Protection Program or PPP.
After the story aired, Birk said he received a call from his bank and two different smaller community banks.
“All of them said we’ll take care of you,” he recalled.
Birk said they were each eager to help, and he was eager for their help.
He said while he had previously applied for a loan with his bank, it wasn’t submitted to the SBA during the first round of the PPP. Then the $349 billion program ran out of money.
Last week, the House joined the Senate and approved an additional $310 billion for the program.
Once the SBA began processing applications for the PPP on Monday, Birk said his bank and the two others submitted loan applications with the SBA, and his request through one of the smaller lenders received the green light.
“I was notified within about six hours my loan had been approved. It’s a huge relief. I really didn’t know how I was going to make it to the next 60 days,” he said.
Birk said he expects a check as early as this Friday, just in time to pay the rent and his employees, who are all returning.
He said he may also have to hire more people.
The SBA said it’s determined to get money to the smallest of small businesses — like Birk’s restaurant.
On Wednesday, the agency announced that from 3 to 11 p.m. Central Time, it would only accept loan applications from lenders with less than $1 billion in assets.
Smaller lending institutions will still be able to apply for the PPP loans afterwards.
Of the $310 billion Congress approved, $30 billion was set aside specifically for small banks.
Birk said he encourages other small business owners to follow his lead.
“Find a local credit union, find a small bank, there’s lots of them out there,” he said.
In all, the SBA said in the first 24 hours of round two, the agency approved 475,000 loans worth more than $52 billion.
The agency said that’s more than seven times the number of loans it normally processes during an entire year, and is nearly double the amount those loans are worth.
During the same time period, the SBA said it approved $28 billion, or about 60% of the total amount loaned, from banks with less than $10 billion in assets.
With his good news, Birk said he can now focus on reopening his restaurant Friday to customers eating in-house with a 25% occupancy.
“I’m nervous. I’m very excited,” he said. “But I don’t know if that’s incremental business in addition to the to-go business we’ve been doing or is it people who are going to do to-go are now going to come in and eat in-house.”
Birk said he will remove tables from inside the restaurant and from his outside patio because the rules say customers must maintain six feet of distance.
The reopening and the loan he said are two steps that will help him land back on his feet.
“I think I’m going to make it and I think we’re going to come out just fine,” he said.