Starting this week, borrowers who have received a payroll protection loan of $ 150,000 or less will be able to apply for forgiveness through an online portal created by the US Small Business Administration.
The portal will start working on Wednesday here, which is attended by more than 600 banks across the country.
In Maine, SBA staff are preparing to help, led by Diane Sturgeon, head of the SBA’s Maine county office, who says the team will keep an updated list of lenders who have participated in the program on its website.
Employees are also encouraging lenders to contact customers directly to educate them about the portal, which she says is designed to be user-friendly with built-in customer support.
Courtesy of / US Small Business Administration
Diane Sturgeon is the District Director of the US Small Business Administration District Office in Maine.
“We’re thrilled to see how this works as it will help the vast majority of our borrowers get forgiven as quickly as possible,” Sturgeon told Mainebiz.
“Our ultimate goal is to get quickly any loan that deserves forgiveness.”
In total, the SBA and lenders have worked to provide more than 11.7 million loans totaling nearly $ 800 billion in aid to more than 8.5 million small businesses, according to a press release last week.
This includes over 6.5 million loans approved in 2021, totaling over $ 275 billion, with an average loan size of $ 42,000.
The program was far from routine for banks and SBA officials, as detailed in Mainebiz cover story Earlier this year.
“The new streamlined SBA Application Portal will make it easier to forgive millions of our smallest businesses, including many sole proprietors, who used our payroll protection loan to weather the pandemic,” SBA Administrator Isabelle Casillas Guzmán said in a press release.
“The vast majority of businesses awaiting forgiveness have loans of up to $ 150,000,” she said. “These entrepreneurs are preoccupied with their businesses and have to deal with an overly complicated process of forgiveness. We need to more effectively offer forgiveness so that they can return to revitalizing our main streets, sustaining our neighborhoods, and fueling our country’s economy. ”
In addition to the Loan Forgiveness Application Portal, SBA is establishing a PPP Customer Service Team to answer questions and directly assist borrowers with their phone forgiveness requests (see below).
“This initiative will allow PPP borrowers to put their fears of achieving full forgiveness behind them and to focus again on operating and growing their business,” said Patrick Kelly, Deputy Administrator of the SBA’s Capital Access Authority. “We are delighted to be able to assist financial institutions in the United States with processing pardons for small business owners.”
Borrowers who need help, including help finding their SBA loan number, can call SBA Support at (877) 552-2682, Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 8:00 pm EST.