RALEIGH – North Carolina small businesses have landed some $5.7 billion in emergency loans through the COVID-19 emergency loan program know as Paycheck Protection Program.

Thomas A. Stith III District Director at the  NC District Office of the Small Business Administration disclosed the funding amount Tuesday evening.

The funds were spread across 23,786 approved applications.

The cash is welcome across the state where some 560,000 residents have applied for unemployment benefits as North Carolina’s economy remains in lock down due to the coronavirus.

While loans were available in various amounts, the average amount granted in NC is around $240,000, according to the N.C. Bankers Association.

The news comes as the head of the bankers, Peter Gwaltney, expressed concerns than the federal funds were running out.

Congress approved and President Trump signed legislation approving $349 billion in PPP loans. Another $250 billion is under consideration.

As of Monday, the SBA said some $248 billion in loans had been approved across more than 1 million applications.

“The PPP is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll,” the SBA’s Stith noted.

“The SBA will forgive these loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.”

The loan program launched on April 3 with demand overwhelming banks involved in the program and the SBA.

Small business loan funding running out fast, warns head of NC Bankers Association