The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and Treasury issued guidance on January 6, 2021 for the reconstituted Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
The guidance came in the form of two interim final rules (IFRs).
- The 82-page IFR “Business Loan Program Temporary Changes; Paycheck Protection Program as Amended” consolidates the rules for PPP forgivable loans for first-time borrowers and outlines changes made by the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act, P.L. 116-260).
- The 42-page IFR “Business Loan Program Temporary Changes; Paycheck Protection Program Second Draw Loans” lays out the guidelines for new PPP loans to businesses that previously received a PPP loan.
Congress revived the PPP as part of the $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill that was signed into law on Dec. 27. The program provided $525 billion in forgivable loans over five months before it stopped accepting applications in August. The Economic Aid Act rebooted PPP (or PPP2, as some call it) with many of the same parameters as the first program but also several important differences from the original PPP.
One of the biggest changes is making PPP funding available to businesses that previously received a PPP loan. Business are eligible for a second PPP loan of up to $2 million, provided they have 300 or fewer employees, have used or will use the full amount of their first PPP loan, and can show a 25% gross revenue decline in any 2020 quarter compared with the same quarter in 2019.
Fresh PPP loans also are available to first-time borrowers from the following groups:
- Businesses with 500 or fewer employees that are eligible for other SBA 7(a) loans.
- Sole proprietors, independent contractors, and eligible self-employed individuals.
- Not-for-profits, including churches.
- Accommodation and food services operations (those with North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes starting with 72) with fewer than 300 employees per physical location.
The legislation also allows borrowers that returned all or part of a previous PPP loan to reapply for the maximum amount available to them.
PPP Loan Terms
As with PPP1, the costs eligible for loan forgiveness in PPP2 include payroll, rent, covered mortgage interest, and utilities. PPP2 also makes the following potentially forgivable:
- Covered worker protection and facility modification expenditures, including personal protective equipment, to comply with COVID-19 federal health and safety guidelines.
- Expenditures to suppliers that are essential at the time of purchase to the recipient’s current operations.
- Covered operating costs such as software and cloud computing services and accounting needs.
To be eligible for full loan forgiveness, PPP borrowers will have to spend no less than 60% of the funds on payroll over a covered period of either eight or 24 weeks — the same parameters PPP1 had when it stopped accepting applications in August.
PPP borrowers may receive a loan amount of up to 2.5 times their average monthly payroll costs in the year prior to the loan or the calendar year, the same as with PPP1, but the maximum loan amount has been cut from $10 million in the first round to the previously mentioned $2 million maximum. PPP borrowers with NAICS codes starting with 72 (hotels and restaurants) can get up to 3.5 times their average monthly payroll costs, again subject to a $2 million maximum.
Simplified Application and Other Terms of Note
The new COVID-19 relief bill also:
- Creates a simplified forgiveness application process for loans of $150,000 or less. Specifically, a borrower shall receive forgiveness if the borrower signs and submits to the lender a certification that is not more than one page in length, includes a description of the number of employees the borrower was able to retain because of the loan, the estimated total amount of the loan spent on payroll costs, and the total loan amount. The SBA must create the simplified application form within 24 days of the bill’s enactment and may not require additional materials unless necessary to substantiate revenue loss requirements or satisfy relevant statutory or regulatory requirements. Borrowers are required to retain relevant records related to employment for four years and other records for three years, as the SBA may review and audit these loans to check for fraud.
- Repeals the requirement that PPP borrowers deduct the amount of any Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance from their PPP forgiveness amount.
- Includes set-asides to support first- and second-time PPP borrowers with 10 or fewer employees, first-time PPP borrowers that have recently been made eligible, and for loans made by community lenders.
Borrowers that receive a PPP loan of $150,000 or less shall receive forgiveness if the borrower signs and submits to the lender a certification that is not more than one page in length, includes a description of the number of employees the borrower was able to retain because of the loan, the estimated total amount of the loan spent on payroll costs, and the total loan amount. The SBA has yet to create the simplified application form but must do so by Jan. 20. The form may not require additional materials unless necessary to substantiate revenue loss requirements or satisfy relevant statutory or regulatory requirements. Borrowers are required to retain relevant records related to employment for four years and other records for three years, as the SBA may review and audit these loans to check for fraud.
Minority, Veteran, and Women-Owned Businesses
The Economic Aid Act provided set-asides for new and smaller borrowers, for borrowers in low- and moderate-income communities, and for community and smaller lenders. The set-asides include:
- $15 billion across first- and second-draw PPP loans for lending by community financial institutions;
- $15 billion across first- and second-draw PPP loans for lending by insured depository institutions, credit unions, and Farm Credit System institutions with consolidated assets of less than $10 billion;
- $35 billion for new first-draw PPP borrowers; and
- $15 billion and $25 billion for first-draw and second-draw PPP loans, respectively, for borrowers with a maximum of 10 employees or for loans of less than $250,000 to borrowers in low- or moderate-income neighborhoods. The SBA has determined that at least 25% of each of those set-asides will go to each one of the groups: loans to borrowers with a maximum of 10 employees and loans of less than $250,000 to borrowers in low- or moderate-income neighborhoods.
The SBA announced in its three-page guidance that it would take a number of steps to ensure increased access to the PPP for minority, underserved, veteran, and women-owned business concerns. Most notably, the SBA said it will accept PPP loan applications only from community financial institutions for at least the first two days when the PPP loan portal reopens. In addition, the SBA said it would:
- Direct Lender Match borrower inquiries to small lenders that can aid traditionally underserved communities;
- Match small businesses through Lender Match with Certified Development Companies (CDCs), Farm Credit System lenders, microloan intermediaries, and traditional smaller asset size lenders;
- Continue setting aside dedicated hours to process and assist the smallest PPP lenders with their PPP loans;
- Continue to strongly encourage community development financial institutions and minority-, women-, veteran-, and military-owned lenders to apply to become PPP lenders. SBA said it would give full and prompt consideration to these applications to become PPP lenders consistent with program guidelines, including in cases where the lender does not meet all of the requirements listed on the updated SBA Form 3507;
- Continue to work with the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System on the PPP Liquidity Facility to enable PPP lenders, including nonbank lenders, to pledge PPP loans to the Federal Reserve as collateral for Federal Reserve borrowings to enhance lender liquidity and enable PPP lenders to expand their lending capacity;
- Promote awareness of these policies and procedures via traditional media methods, SBA social media accounts, and guidance to lenders before the formal opening of the SBA’s loan systems;
- Continue to work with federal partners. including the Department of Agriculture, the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Farm Credit Administration, and the National Credit Union Administration, to share the guidance with PPP lenders, borrowers, and the broader public.