Wells Fargo

The Wells Fargo branch on Alvarado Street in Monterey.

Up to $936 million in loans have flowed into the economy of Monterey County as part of the federal Paycheck Protection Program during the pandemic, according to the Weekly’s analysis of nationwide data released July 6 by the U.S. Small Business Administration. At a minimum, $488.1 million in PPP loans were received by local businesses, schools, churches and charitable organizations. 

Search for Monterey County companies that received PPP loans in the database below. 

Created in March as the spread of coronavirus accelerated, the PPP program was meant to help small businesses keep workers on payroll. For most recipients, the loans will be forgivable based on meeting certain conditions. 

The program is credited with staving off a significant amount of layoffs nationally, but unemployment has still skyrocketed in the fallout from public health orders shutting down nonessential commerce. Monterey County reached a record level of joblessness in April, followed by a mild improvement in May

More loans went to restaurants than any other type of business in Monterey County. The next top recipients by number of loans were dental offices, physicians’ offices, hotels, real estate agents and brokers, law firms, and construction companies. In total, 4,834 loans were disbursed locally, and 84 percent of them were for under $150,000. 

Monterey County Weekly also applied for and received PPP relief in the range of $150,000-$350,000, according to the data. The money has helped the newspaper retain the majority of its employees through the economic downturn. (Another local newspaper, The Carmel Pine Cone, received an amount in the same range.)

In a reflection of Monterey County’s economy, many of the largest loans went to firms in the agriculture and tourism sectors. Norcal harvesting and Organic Girl, for example, received between $5 million and $10 million. The Cannery Row Company and operators of hotels on Cannery Row in Monterey also received millions. 

The list of major recipients also includes some of the most politically connected firms in Monterey County, like the Don Chapin Company, which received between $2 million and $5 million. 

But the money didn’t go only to businesses. The Catholic Diocese of Monterey received between $5 million and $10 million. Private educational institutions like Stevenson School and Santa Catalina School each got millions, and charter school Bay View Academy received hundreds of thousands of dollars. The Community Foundation for Monterey County, which spearheaded local relief efforts, giving out more than $2.6 million, itself received a paycheck protection loan. 

The data is also broken down by the lender. When it came to large loans of more than $150,000 local banks appear to have dominated, with 1st Capital Bank topping the list and Pacific Valley Bank, Pinnacle Bank, and Monterey County Bank also making the top 10. In the arena of loans totaling less than $150,000, multinational corporations like Bank of America and Wells Fargo brought in far more business. 

The murkiest part of the PPP disclosure is the number of jobs retained with the help of the loans. Of local borrowers, 520 show zero jobs retained, which could mean none or that they simply didn’t report a number to the SBA. Also, the term “jobs retained” doesn’t necessarily correspond to people, but is the result of calculation taking into account part-time and temporary hires and other variables. With those caveats noted, the PPP data indicates that 65,354 jobs were retained in Monterey County. The total local workforce is roughly 200,000 strong.

For loans under $150,000, the SBA did not disclose the names of companies borrowing the money but did provide the following info:

Asaf Shalev is a staff writer at the Monterey County Weekly. He covers the environment, agriculture and K-12 education, as well as Seaside, Marina, Sand City, Big Sur and Carmel Valley.

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