When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the government gave most Americans a stimulus check and loaned money to businesses, but believe it or not, some people still don’t have that loan money. Plus, can you take a selfie with your ballot on Election Day? Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser has the answers.
The federal goverment is still giving small businesses loans to survive the pandemic, and Ana certainly needs it.
Ana Karina Cespedes: “I really had no idea where I was going to get my next paycheck from.”
Ana is an independent freelance producer, working on all types of shows.
Ana Karina Cespedes: “I’ve done other, you know, cooking shows, soap operas. I’ve done everything, commercials, music videos. This one was for games of the 31st Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.”
But the coronavirus turned the lights out on the production business, and that’s when Ana turned to the federal loan program.
Ana Karina Cespedes: “So after a little bit of back and forth with the SBA directly, I finally got approved. They approved me for $24,200. I was so relieved I cried.”
But after the government deposited the money into her Chase account, she would be crying again — and not tears of joy.
Ana Karina Cespedes: “He says, ‘You are not a business. You are not entitled to this money. We cannot release this money.'”
The Chase bank rep said they could only release the money to a business, and since Ana was a self-employed independent contractor, she couldn’t get the money out of her own account.
Ana Karina Cespedes: “I’m paying back the SBA, so the bank has really nothing to do with it. I’m paying back the Small Business Administration. I’m not paying back Chase. Chase did not lend me this money.”
Ana argued with the bank, explaining the government did loan money to individuals. Ana lost.
Ana Karina Cespedes: “I want my money. I’m entitled to that money. My voice is cracking, but I don’t want to lose hope, you know, which is why I reached out to you guys.”
Well, Howard, who is right, Ana and the federal government or the bank?
Howard Finkelstein: “The bank is wrong. Some employees didn’t read the federal law and didn’t listen to Ana when she tried to explain it to them. If they won’t release the money, ask the Small Business Administration to take the money back and issue it through another bank, then file a complaint with the federal OCC department.”
Election Day is finally here. Two quick questions, Howard. As you vote, can you take a selfie of you and your ballot?
Howard Finkelstein: “Yes, you can. A recent change in Florida law allows you to take a picture of your ballot with you holding it. But there is a law that says you cannot show it to someone else, so if you post it, it could be a crime. But don’t worry, I am not aware of anyone ever being charged for posting their ballot online.”
Many people have concealed weapons permits. Can they take their gun into the voting precinct?
Howard Finkelstein: “No. A permit to carry and conceal prohibits you from carrying it into some places, like a school, a courthouse, police station and a voting precinct, so if you have a concealed weapon, leave it at home or your car because if you get caught with it in a polling place, it’s a crime.”
Ana Karina Cespedes: “Dear Help Me Howard team, we did it!”
We contacted Chase. They said due to privacy reasons, they could not discuss Ana’s account, and then they did what we asked and released the $24,600 to her.
Ana Karina Cespedes: “Thank you so much for everything that you do and for us little people to fight the fight. For fighting the fight with me, I am eternally grateful.”
Glad we could help you, Ana, and good luck getting back to work.
We have heard from a lot of small business owners or freelancers like Ana who can’t get their bank to release the money. If that’s you, file that complaint with the OCC.
Do you have a problem you can’t solve? A legal question you need answered? Please get in touch with us. We would love to help you out.
Most financial institutions are regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The customer can file a complaint with the OCC online. The website is: www.helpwithmybank.gov/complaints/index-file-a-bank-complaint.html.
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