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930 Dan River Region businesses received as much as $128 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans, data shows
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930 Dan River Region businesses received as much as $128 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans, data shows

Only $5 for 5 months

Businesses throughout the Dan River Region received somewhere between $70.7 million and $128.3 million in federal coronavirus aid, according to data released by the Small Business Administration.

The recipients, which crossed all sectors and even included some nonprofits, received payments ranging from as little as $1,000 to possibly as much as $5 million.

In total, 930 businesses throughout Danville and Pittsylvania County received loans through the Paycheck Protection Program, the emergency lending program meant to help small business keep employees on payrolls amid the economic fallout caused by efforts meant to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Which Dan River Region businesses received money from the Paycheck Protection Program?

Yet the SBA data — released Monday — appears to have some discrepancies when it comes to the number of jobs that local businesses are retaining with the funds. Several companies that received multi-million dollar loans were listed as retaining zero employees, while another business was listed as retaining significantly more employees than it actually has.

“I don’t know how that would have been interpreted that way,” Lewis Wall Jr., president and CEO of Chatham-based Davenport Energy, said of why the federal data indicates that his company did not retain any of its employees with a loan of between $2 million and $5 million.

Averett University, Davenport and Roman Eagle Rehabilitation and Health Care Center obtained loans of somewhere between $2 million and $5 million, but data from the SBA indicates that they did not use those funds to retain any employees. Averett University spokespeople did not respond to requests for comment, while Davenport and Roman Eagle representatives both disputed the data.

Roman Eagle still employs roughly 350 people and provides regular hours and benefits, said Chief Financial Officer Doug Butts. About 5% of positions at Roman Eagle are currently unfilled, and that is due to employees leaving voluntarily due to the added pressure and stress that comes with working at a nursing home during the pandemic, Butts said.

“Our intention was to retain all of our employees from the beginning of the loan to the end,” Butts said.

Davenport Energy is using PPP funding to ensure that no employees lose hours or benefits, and as of now the company still hasn’t had to reduce anyone’s hours or eliminate any positions. Wall said that he is unsure of why federal data reported that his company isn’t retaining employees with the funds and said the bank has not asked any follow-up questions about the company’s retention of its 200 employees.

“I would be more than happy to share with them that we’ve not reduced our staff … we’re treating our team members the same way we’ve always done,” he said.

Riverside Roof Truss, a Danville roofing company, is reported to be retaining 500 employees with its loan of between $1 million and $2 million. When the Danville Register & Bee called, an employee confirmed that the company does not have 500 employees, but would not speak on the record further.

By the numbers

A look at the range amounts of loans to Dan River Region businesses.

Loan amounts Number of businesses
Less than $50K 625
$50K to $100K 150
$100K to $150K 65
$150K to $350K 64
$350K $1M 32
$1M to $2M 12
$2M to $5M 4

The Payment Protection Program was part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a $2 trillion relief bill meant to stimulate the economy during the economic fallout caused by the coronavirus pandemic. In their applications, businesses provided information such as monthly payroll, number of employees and how the loan was to be used. Expenses like payroll, interest on mortgages and rent, and utilities were eligible for loan forgiveness through the program.

Loans are provided through private lenders who decide to participate, but are guaranteed by the SBA. In Danville and Pittsylvania County, American National Bank and Trust Company is one of the main loan providers. According to bank President & CEO Jeff Haley, the SBA pays lenders the following fees for processing the loans:

  • 5% for loans of not more than $350,000
  • 3% for loans of more than $350,000 and less than $2 million
  • 1% for loans of at least $2 million

After being put on hold in April due to a lack of funding, the SBA reopened the program to additional applications in May and further extended the program earlier this week. The application period currently runs through August 8.

The data released by the SBA shows the locality and amount but not the name of the business for loans less than $150,000. In total, 246 Pittsylvania County businesses received loans of less than $150,000, while 574 businesses in Danville received loans in that same range. The average size of those loans was roughly $35,000.

Roughly two thirds of the loans administered through the program in the Dan River Region were less than $50,000.

Approximately 112 businesses in the Dan River Region received loans of more than $150,000. The SBA provides a range, such as $150,000-$350,000, so the comprehensive total of all PPP loans in the region covers a range with a nearly $60 million split between the lowest possible amount of $70.7 million and the highest possible amount of $128.3 million.

The maximum loans the program provided were up to $10 million, but no Dan River Region businesses are reported to have been granted any more than $5 million.

Pittsylvania County Economic Development Director Matt Rowe was pleased that the program was able to provide loans for more than 300 Pittsylvania County businesses of all sizes.

“From our standpoint, anything that can be done to support our local businesses and the families that they support and impact during these trying times is a positive endeavor,” he said.

Ayers reports for the Register & Bee. Reach him at (434) 791-7981.

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