Businesses owners who secured Paycheck Protection Program loans from the government now have a streamlined process to seek loan forgiveness directly through the Small Business Administration.
The portal is meant for borrowers with loans of $150,000 or less, the SBA said.
“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,” said Isabel Casillas Guzman, SBA administrator. “The vast majority of businesses waiting for forgiveness have loans under $150,000.”
Guzman said these entrepreneurs are routinely busy running their businesses and have limited time to sort through the 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,” she said.
The SBA said the change will rush relief to more than 6.5 million of the smallest of small businesses. The new forgiveness platform will begin accepting applications from borrowers on Aug. 4.
Lenders are required to opt-in to this program through the SBA’s direct forgiveness website. In addition to the technology platform, the SBA is providing a PPP customer service team to answer questions and directly assist borrowers with their forgiveness applications.
Borrowers that need assistance or have questions should call (877) 552-2692, Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CST.
Overall, the SBA and lenders have worked to originate more than 11.7 million loans totaling nearly $800 billion in relief to 8.5 million small businesses.
More than 600 banks have opted in to direct forgiveness, enabling more than 2.17 million borrowers to apply through the portal. The SBA said that represents about 30% of loans of $150,000 or less that have not yet submitted for forgiveness.
The PPP program was established by the CARES Act in 2020 and was among the first COVID-19 small business economic aid programs, which provided more than $798 billion in economic relief to small businesses and nonprofits across the nation. Information on the SBA’s interim final rule on seeking PPP loan forgiveness is available on the SBA’s website.