Borrowers with Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans of $150,000 or less—financial aid for businesses stemming from pandemic-related distress—may be able to apply for forgiveness directly through the Small Business Administration’s new portal.
The SBA is launching a new application portal to streamline forgiveness requests: Directforgiveness.sba.gov. The platform will begin accepting applications from borrowers on Aug. 4. It will help to rush relief to more than 6.5 million small businesses, SBA says.
Lenders are required to opt-in to this program through Directforgiveness.sba.gov. More than 600 banks have opted in, which would enable more than 2.17 million borrowers to apply through the portal so far.
“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,” says Isabel Casillas Guzman, SBA administrator. “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.”
The PPP loan program was established by the CARES Act in 2020 soon after the COVID-19 pandemic struck the U.S. It offered small business aid and provided more than $798 billion in economic relief to small businesses and nonprofits across the country. Since the pandemic, SBA and lenders have originated more than 11.7 million loans totaling $800 billion in relief to more than 8.5 million small businesses. The average loan size was $42,000 in 2021 compared to $101,000 in 2020. Ninety-six percent of the SBA loans in 2021 went to businesses with fewer than 20 employees, including numerous real estate firms.
The National Association of REALTORS® maintains a page with more information on SBA’s PPP program for real estate professionals at NAR.realtor.
Also, SBA’s customer service team can assist borrowers with their forgiveness applications and questions through a hotline: 877-552-2692, Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST.