Small-business advocates are calling on the federal government to extend the March 31 deadline to apply for a loan from the Paycheck Protection Program, citing recent changes made to the program and delays in processing applications.

"Time is not on our side. These businesses need a little more help, and they're willing to do the work," Hilda Kennedy, president of the PPP lender AmPac Business Capital, said Wednesday during a House Small Business Committee hearing focused on the future of the program.

Ms. Kennedy was speaking of the very smallest firms, such as those owned by sole proprietors. "We need more time to serve them," she added.

PPP COVID-19 RELIEF INITIATIVE IS ADJUSTED TO ATTRACT THE SMALLEST BUSINESSES

As of March 7, the Small Business Administration had approved 2.4 million loans totaling roughly $165 billion, or nearly 60% of available funds, for loans to first-time and returning borrowers under the reopened program, according to agency data. Lenders issue the loans, and the SBA guarantees them.

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