To Small Businesses: Forgiveness On Your Paycheck Protection Loan Is About To Get A Lot Easier
Good news to small businesses who borrowed money through the pandemic Paycheck Protection Program: Forgiving your debt is about to get a lot easier.
The U.S. Small Business Administration opened a new portal on August 4 to speed up loan forgiveness for borrowers with loans of $150,000 or less. Right now, borrowers need to apply for loan forgiveness directly through the lending banks, which were getting overwhelmed by the requests, according to news reports. The new SBA portal will allow borrowers to sidestep the banks, and simplify the process by going directly through a government portal.
So far, more than 600 banks have opted in to direct forgiveness, which represents 30% of outstanding loans $150,000 or less. The vast majority of loans fall under the $150,000 threshold, according to the SBA. To find out more about the forgiveness portal and to see if your business qualifies, visit the SBA site here.
Paycheck protection loans were one of the first lifelines sent to small businesses during the early days of the pandemic, but they turned out to be a disappointment to many. The loans came with tricky restrictions, and the loan forgiveness program was complicated, leaving some businesses worried about being stuck with huge debt while they were still reeling from the pandemic closures. The SBA portal hopes to solve this problem, at least for some small businesses. The program gave about $806 billion to millions of small businesses between April 2020 and June 2021, according to the Washington Post.
The SBA is also setting up a PPP customer-service hotline to answer questions and assist with forgiveness applications. Call (877) 552-2692, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST.