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SBA opens direct-forgiveness portal for Paycheck Protection Program

By Eric Reinhardt

Date:

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has recently launched a “streamlined” forgiveness-application portal for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). 

It seeks to allow borrowers with PPP loans of $150,000 or less to apply for forgiveness directly through the SBA. 

The portal on Aug. 4 started accepting applications from borrowers that have a PPP loan with a lender that has opted into the forgiveness portal.

More than 600 banks have opted into direct forgiveness, enabling over 2.17 million borrowers to apply through the portal. It represents 30 percent of loans totaling $150,000 or less whose borrowers have not yet submitted for forgiveness, the SBA said. Lenders must opt into the program through https://directforgiveness.sba.gov.

Isabel Casillas Guzman

“The SBA’s new streamlined application portal will simplify forgiveness for millions of our smallest businesses — including many sole proprietors — who used funds from our Paycheck Protection Program loans to survive the pandemic,” SBA Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman, said in the July 28 announcement. “The vast majority of businesses waiting for forgiveness have loans under $150,000. These entrepreneurs are busy running their businesses and are challenged by an overly complicated forgiveness process. We need to deliver forgiveness more efficiently so they can get back to enlivening our Main Streets, sustaining our neighborhoods and fueling our nation’s economy.”

“The SBA is making the forgiveness process more efficient for small businesses so they can recover more fully, get back on track and grow,” Bernard J. Paprocki, SBA acting regional administrator, said. “The largest segment of Paycheck Protection Program loans awaiting forgiveness in the Atlantic region are $150,000 or less. Small businesses and nonprofits with a PPP loan through a lender that opts into this portal will be able to apply for forgiveness through this easier method.”

Besides that role, Paprocki is also the district director for upstate New York and based in Syracuse.

The new forgiveness portal will help rush relief to more than 6.5 million of the “smallest of small businesses,” the SBA contends. 

The SBA is also providing a PPP customer-service team to answer questions and directly assist borrowers with their forgiveness applications. Borrowers who need assistance or have questions can call (877) 552-2692, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. 

PPP summary

Overall, the SBA and lenders worked to originate more than 11.7 million loans totaling nearly $800 billion in relief to over 8.5 million small businesses. 

In 2021, the SBA approved more than 6.5 million loans totaling over $275 billion. The average PPP loan size was approximately $42,000, compared to $101,000 in 2020. In addition, 96 percent of PPP loans went to businesses with fewer than 20 employees, compared to 87 percent in 2020. 

The SBA also noted that 32 percent of loans went to businesses in low- to moderate-income communities, compared to 24 percent in 2020.

Established by the CARES Act in 2020, the PPP was among the first COVID-19 small-business, economic-aid programs. It provided more than $798 billion in economic relief to small businesses and nonprofits across the nation. 

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