The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is launching a streamlined application portal to allow borrowers with Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans of $150,000 or less through participating lenders to apply for forgiveness directly through the SBA.
“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,” explains administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman. “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.”
This new change will help rush relief to over 6.5 million small businesses. The new forgiveness platform began accepting applications from borrowers on Aug. 4. Lenders are required to opt-in to this program at directforgiveness.sba.gov.
In addition to the platform, the SBA is setting up 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, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. ET.
“This initiative will allow PPP borrowers to put their concerns of achieving full forgiveness behind them and focus on operating and growing their businesses again,” adds Patrick Kelley, associate administrator for SBA’s Office of Capital Access. “We are pleased to be able to assist financial institutions across the U.S. in processing forgiveness applications for small business owners.”
Overall, the SBA and lenders have worked to introduce over 11.7 million loans totaling nearly $800 billion in relief to over 8.5 million small businesses. Over 600 banks have opted in to direct forgiveness, enabling over 2.17 million borrowers to apply through the portal — representing 30% of loans $150,000 or less that have not yet submitted for forgiveness.
Established by the CARES Act in 2020, the PPP is a COVID-19 small business economic aid program. It provided more than $798 billion in economic relief to small businesses and nonprofits.