Damjan won’t tell you how to run your business, but he will try to advise you on how to save your money and avoid financial ruin. As a staff writer at SmallBizGenius, he focuses on finding the most consumer-friendly services available and provides advice to both established and fledgling businesses out there.
Robinhood Markets, operator of the trading platform at the center of the GameStop stock market storm, has lifted trading restrictions on all stocks, including GME and AMC. This move comes eight days after the company’s controversial decision to block purchases of GameStop, AMC, and other stocks. That action led to an enormous backlash in online communities and a review-bombing campaign that saw Robinhood drop to a one-star rating on many platforms. Google alone deleted more than 100,000 negative reviews to salvage the trading platform’s rating. Other consequences weren’t so easily reversed. At the height of the trading frenzy, Robinhood had to draw on bank credit lines to secure enough cash to clear trades. The trading block led to a huge drop in GameStop stock prices because potential buyers could not execute trades on the Robinhood website. Only a day after the January 29 decision to block GameStop trading, Robinhood announced it would resume trading the stocks in a limited capacity. This came after a $1 billion cash infusion from investors looking to safeguard traders.On February 4, Robinhood announced that it would remove volume restrictions on all stock trades. GameStop stock prices, which dropped during the trading blackout, began rising again. It remains to be seen whether Robinhood will manage to restore its tarnished reputation. While the GameStop debacle was the worst PR disaster the popular trading platform has faced, it isn’t the first time Robinhood has faced criticism. In December 2020, the platform came under scrutiny from securities regulators. Investigators felt Robinhood was guilty of gamifying investing because the website and mobile app made investing similar to a video game, which lured users and made them lose sight of the actual risks involved. Those investigations came after Robinhood paid a $65 million settlement for misleading customers about its revenue sources. Whatever Robinhood’s fate may be, questions that arose during the GameStop crisis will remain - especially questions about how free the market is, the long odds facing retail investors, and whether big players are illegally manipulating the market.
In a press release published on March 24, the Small Business Administration announced that it is increasing the lending limit for the Economic Injury and Disaster Loans program. Starting April 6, small businesses that have taken out a six-month loan for up to $150,000 will be able to extend the loan to up to 24 months and $500,000. According to the SBA, 3.7 million businesses employing more than 20 million people have received support through the EIDL program. Due to the pandemic lasting longer than expected and increased calls from small businesses for the SBA to remove the $150K cap, the agency decided to more than triple the maximum loan amount. Businesses that are already receiving a loan subject to the old limits do not need to apply for an increase. Instead, the SBA will contact them directly via email, detailing the process for a loan amount increase. Once the new limits are in effect, all new loan applications will automatically be considered for the increased loan limit. This decision comes after the SBA’s announcement that from March 12, it would extend deferment periods for all disaster loans, including the EIDL, to 2022. In an effort to shift all payments to this year, the first payment due for loans starting in 2020 will be pushed back to 24 months after the date on the note and 18 months after the date of the note for loans beginning in 2021. It seems that the federal government is doubling down on its efforts to prop up the ailing economy. Previously, the deadline for PPP loans was extended by two months, following much-needed revisions to the program aimed at helping businesses owned by women and minorities. Additionally, the IRS has made EIDL advances and forgiven funds non-taxable, providing additional financial respite to small businesses.