- The US Small Business Administration is launching a streamlined application portal that will allow companies with a paycheck protection program loan of $ 150,000 or less to apply for forgiveness directly, a press release said. The portal accepts applications on August 4th and can serve around 6.5 million borrowers.
- The SBA has also created a PPP customer service team to answer questions and provide direct assistance to companies with their loan waiver applications. Operators can call this team at 877-552-2692 Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. EST.
- The vast majority of PPP borrowers awaiting forgiveness have loans of $ 150,000 or less, SBA administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman said in a statement. The SBA approved over 6.5 million loans totaling more than $ 275 billion. In 2021, 96% of loans went to companies with fewer than 20 employees (up from 87% in 2020).
By having contractors across the country have a direct line to the SBA to file waiver applications rather than relying on banks to act as intermediaries, construction company owners across the country could find out more quickly about the status of their loan. This could be critical to the financial health of many companies as the industry grapples with rising inflation, supply chain disruptions, and historical work pressures.
If a company can find out more quickly if it’s going to be forgiven, it could avoid the need to set aside funds to cover the loan and instead devote that money to urgent needs such as utilities, recruitment bonuses, or other debt.
“This initiative will allow PPP borrowers to leave their concerns about total forgiveness behind and focus on running and growing their businesses again.” Patrick Kelley, deputy administrator of the SBA’s Office of Capital Access, said in a statement.
Earlier this year, the Associated General Contractors of America lobbied the SBA for its allegedly slow agency response to requests for waivers for loans of $ 2 million and above.
AGC General Counsel Michael Kennedy said long turnaround times mean contractors must keep loans as liabilities on their balance sheets until a decision is made.
“It’s already having a financial impact on the companies that are waiting to be forgiven,” Kennedy said. “We have reason to believe that this will affect the creditworthiness of the contractors, we have reason to believe that this will affect the creditworthiness of the contractors.”
Since that time, certain requirements for these larger loans have been lifted, and the report says the waiver has been granted at a faster pace.
Jennifer Goodman contributed to this report.