83% of pandemic business loans that helped pay 112,600 Greater Cleveland workers have been canceled

CLEVELAND, Ohio — More than 83% of Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program loans have been canceled in Greater Cleveland, meaning at least that share of businesses accepting the loans have held their promises to maintain their payroll, according to data through Feb. 13 from the SBA.

The agency issued 14,675 loans to small businesses in Greater Cleveland in 2020 and 2021 to help keep them operating throughout the pandemic. The combined companies have more than 112,600 employees and have received more than $2.5 billion in loans.

Most PPP loans issued were below $150,000 with a 1% interest rate. To qualify for the rebate, companies had to maintain employee and compensation rates, with 60% of the requested money going towards payroll and the rest going towards other operational costs.

Most of the Cleveland businesses receiving the loans were small – 80% listing eight or fewer employees on loan applications. On the high end – with 500 employees each – were Educare Medical Staffing, Comet Glass and Appletree Books.

Borrowers have up to 10 months after the last day of the covered period to apply for the rebate. Many companies that have not repaid their loans in full or applied for forgiveness are still within this grace period.

More than 70% of loan cancellations occurred in the last three months of 2020, with Cleveland businesses benefiting from a collective cancellation of $1.75 billion, or 70% of the total loan amount in the Greater Cleveland, as defined as Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Portage and Summit counties.

To qualify for PPP loan relief, a business can to apply once all the loan funds have been used, within 10 months of the last day of the period covered.

Data is not available for when borrowers applied for loans, but experts have suggested applications died down after the initial announcement in 2020, accounting for the bulk of loans canceled at that time . Loans taken out at the end of the program in May 2021 are still within the 10-month period.

Loans are not automatically canceled in full, as partial forgiveness is possible at the discretion of the lender. Currently, 76% of Cleveland’s PPP loans have been fully repaid.

Those numbers are higher than in the rest of Ohio, with just 77% of its loans at least partially canceled and 65% of loans repaid in full.

The state as a whole has received more than $23 billion in loan forgiveness, or about 3% of funds issued across the country, which is Ohio’s population share. According to SBA data, the United States has seen more than 84% of PPP loans forgiven.

Ohio received 81% of its overall rebate in 2020, above the national average of 75%.

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