$50M in small business loans to be offered to Texans, Gov. Abbott announces


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Gov. Greg Abbott, in partnership with Goldman Sachs and LiftFund, announced that $50 million in small business loans will be available to Texas businesses starting later Monday.

“We want to make sure that these small businesses are not gonna have to shut down and more importantly, they’re not going to have to eliminate payrolls for the employees simply because business is required to either be closed or drastically limited as a result of our efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus,” Governor Abbott said.

Half of the funding, $25 million, is in partnership between LiftFund and Goldman Sachs.

Nationally, Goldman Sachs is pledging $550 million to the Paycheck Protection Plan, but this partnership gauntness Texas will receive $50 million of that.

Goldman Sachs is providing the money, and LiftFund is working to ensure it quickly gets into the hands of small businesses in the state, LiftFund CEO Jannie Barrera said.

“Goldman Sachs provides the liquidity that we need to make loans. We then lend it out to small businesses who may not have been able to go to their banks, because maybe they’re saturated or maybe they don’t have a banking relationship as a not for profit they can come to,” Barrera explained.

LiftFund is a community development financial institution and is one of several CDFIs Goldman Sachs is working with across the state.

On Friday, Gov. Abbott hinted at issuing a new executive order this week to slowly start reopening businesses across the state. Abbott didn’t fully divulge details of the plan Monday, but says the plan will slowly stimulate the economy by opening certain types of businesses first.

Abbott maintained that the state’s top priority is the health and safety of the public, implying that the openings will not be a free-for-all for people across the state.

“This is not going to be a rush the gates, everybody is able to suddenly reopen all at once. We have to understand that we must reopen in a way in which we are able to stimulate the economy while at the very same time ensuring that we contain the spread of COVID-19,” Abbott added.

He said while recent numbers reported in Texas are starting to show a glimmer of hope, it’s too soon to say Texas is officially beginning to flatten the curve.

Businesses in Texas and around the country have been hit incredibly hard by COVID-19, and the stay-at-home and social distancing restrictions that followed. This press conference comes ahead of the White House’s expected announcement about what the Trump Administration is going to do to slowly reopen the economy.

“We will focus on restoring lives while protecting livelihoods. We can and we must do this, we can do both. Expand and restore the livelihoods that Texans want to have by helping them return to work,” Abbott said Friday afternoon. “One thing about Texans is they so much enjoy working and I know they want to get back into the workforce. But we have to articulate also the strategies about ways we can do this safely.”

As for the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, Abbott said Monday the latest numbers are showing “glimmers of hope with a whole bunch of red flags.”

According to Abbott, the numbers in the state are beginning to show promise. Currently, 13,827 Texans have tested positive for the coronavirus out of over 133,000 people tested.

1,176 patients have been hospitalized due to COVID-19 and 286 Texans have died due to complications from the virus.

Chris Furlow, president and CEO of the Texas Bankers Association, said TBA appreciates the Governor’s work to protect jobs and save the state’s economy. Furlow added that community banks, in addition to Goldman Sachs’ contribution, play an important role in this recovery effort.

“Texas community banks have made into the billions of dollars in small business paycheck protection loans, and that’s really translated into saving tens of thousands of jobs in Texas. Since April 3, Texas community banks have been hiring additional staff,” Furlow explained, “You know, SBA has been able to make over 200 billion dollars in loans over the last week, that’s more than it typically takes in five years for SBA, these incredible numbers just simply wouldn’t be possible without our community banks.”

Along with his plan to help the Texas economy, Abbott says he will have an announcement on the future of Texas public schools later this week, as well.

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