Small Business Administration to revamp PPP forgiveness in bid to end historic program – POLITICO

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The SBA has notified banks — which were responsible for issuing the government-backed loans and processing forgiveness requests — that the agency is setting up its own online, consumer-facing forgiveness platform.

Rather than forcing borrowers to apply through banks, the SBA forgiveness site will accept applications from small borrowers directly in a format that officials estimate will take businesses just a few minutes to go through. Lenders will still have a say in whether individual PPP loans should be forgiven, but the intent is to reduce the amount of time and effort that banks have to invest in the process.

In addition, the SBA will announce plans to spare certain borrowers who received second PPP loans this year worth less than $150,000 from having to supply documentation proving that they suffered a 25 percent revenue reduction in 2020 that was required to receive the aid. The agency has told lenders that it’s using a combination of data sets to make the determinations, including information based on foot traffic and credit card charging.

SBA Associate Administrator Patrick Kelley made a personal plea to lenders on a webinar Tuesday, as he urged them to opt in to the SBA’s new forgiveness platform — “give it over to the government and get your life back.” The SBA plans to launch the site on a pilot basis on Wednesday and have it go live around Aug. 4.

“All of us want to be done with forgiveness — borrowers, lenders, government — by the fall, across the board,” Kelley said. “So this is the final push that will hopefully put PPP in the rearview mirror for the borrowers, for the lenders and for the agency.”