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Roundup: Best work from home states, Largo takes on business relief, AutoWeb gets PPP loan

Margie Manning

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Photo credit: Creative Commons

Today’s roundup has news from the city of Largo, AutoWeb, Janney Montgomery Scott and WalletHub.

The city of Largo is considering establishing a program to help small businesses that have closed or severely curtailed their operations in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The program would provide immediate financial assistance so those businesses can remain viable and be able to reopen to meet community needs, said Carol Stricklin, Largo’s community development director. Details are subject to change, but the program generally would assist restaurants, bars and non-essential businesses in Largo with up to 50 employees.

The proposal was discussed with the Largo City Commission at a work session on April 14, and will be considered at the April 21 regular City Commission meeting.

Jared Rowe, president and CEO, AutoWeb

AutoWeb got a $1.4 million loan through the Paycheck Protection Program, part of the recently enacted federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. AutoWeb (Nasdaq: AUTO), a  digital marketing company for auto dealers and manufacturers that moved its corporate headquarters to Tampa last year, got the loan through PNC Bank, a news release said.

AutoWeb, with 171 employees and $114 million in 2019 revenue, said it would use the proceeds for payroll costs and other permitted expenses. Auto Web’s CEO, Jared Rowe, earlier took a 30 percent salary reduction, while other members of the executive team took a 10 percent pay cut.

Banks will benefit from the fees and interests on PPP loans, according to a new analysis from Janney Montgomery Scott, a research and investment banking firm in Philadephia.

The $349 billion set aside for the small business loans was snapped up quickly, and Congress is expected to appropriate more funding for the PPP program.

Banks are paid an upfront fee for originating the loans; the fee generally is between 3 percent and 5 percent on balances below $2 million, the report said. The loans are likely to have a short life, with banks either selling them to the Federal Reserve or borrowers getting back on their feet by year-end 2020, the report said.

“We conclude that the revenue generated from the PPP Loans is far stronger than banks have discussed on early conference calls from 4/13 to 4/17. It is our impression that managements are shy about the PPP benefit in order to avoid press headlines. However, as we calculate the PPP initiative, banks have a clear and positive impact,” the report said.

Florida ranks No. 20 on a new WalletHub list of best states to work from home. The personal finance website compared work-from-home conditions such as low costs, reasonable comfort and a high level of security in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Source: WalletHub

Florida ranked No. 11 among the states for share of the population working from home and No. 14 for households’ internet access, but was near the bottom of the list, at No. 47, on cybersecurity, or the number of internet crime victims per capita.

Delaware was No. 1 and Alaska was No. 51.

The complete WalletHub report is here.

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