Starting this week, borrowers who have received a Paycheck Protection Program loan of $ 150,000 or less will be able to request a rebate through an online portal set up by the US Small Business Administration.
The portal will go live on Wednesday here, with more than 600 banks nationwide participating.
In Maine, SBA staff members prepare to help, led by Diane Sturgeon, chief of the SBA’s Maine district office, who says the team will keep an up-to-date list of lenders who have opted for the program on its website.
Staff members are also encouraging lenders to reach out to clients directly to let them know about the portal, which she says is designed to be user-friendly with built-in customer service.
Courtesy / US Small Business Administration
Diane Sturgeon is the District Director of the Maine District Office of the US Small Business Administration.
“We’re very happy to see this up and running because it will help the vast majority of our borrowers get their forgiveness as quickly as possible,” Sturgeon told Mainebiz.
“Our ultimate goal is to obtain prompt remission of any loan eligible for remission.”
In total, the SBA and lenders have worked to secure more than 11.7 million loans totaling nearly $ 800 billion in aid to more than 8.5 million small businesses, according to last week’s press release. .
This includes over 6.5 million loans approved in 2021 worth over $ 275 billion, with an average loan size of $ 42,000.
The program has been anything but routine for banks and SBA officials, as detailed in a Mainebiz cover story earlier this year.
“The SBA’s new streamlined application portal will make forgiveness easier for millions of our smaller businesses – including many sole proprietorships – who have used the funds from our Paycheck Protection Program loans to survive the pandemic.” SBA administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman said in a press release.
“The vast majority of businesses awaiting forgiveness have loans below $ 150,000,” she noted. “These entrepreneurs are busy running their businesses and facing an overly complicated surrender process. We need to offer forgiveness to them more effectively so they can get back to bustling our main streets, supporting our neighborhoods and fueling the economy. of our country. “
In addition to the loan remission request portal, the SBA is setting up a PPP customer service team to answer questions and directly assist borrowers with their remission requests by phone (see information below).
“This initiative will allow PPP borrowers to put their worries of obtaining full forgiveness behind them and return to focusing on operating and growing their businesses,” said Patrick Kelley, associate administrator of the Access Office. capital of the SBA. “We are excited to be able to help financial institutions across the United States process pardon requests for small business owners. “
Borrowers who need help, including finding their SBA loan number, can call the SBA Helpdesk at (877) 552-2682 Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. EST.