Responding to complaints that the process is too slow and bulky, the Small Business Administration has announced a series of changes in the way the Paycheck Protection Program is administered.
A large number of applications across the country has been held up due to new validation procedures that had been earlier put in place by the SBA to eliminate cheating.
According to sources, that approach delayed nearly a third of applications for PPP assistance. At particular issue was a feature making it impossible for lenders to directly address errors that were putting a stop to otherwise valid applications.
The SBA says it will now allow lenders to certify borrowers’ eligibility, while also letting those same lenders “upload supporting documentation of borrowers with validation errors.”
The agency is also creating new communication channels designed to speed up the application process, with an “immediate national lender call” to brief lenders on the program’s latest capabilities.
Established last year as part of the big Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, the PPP as of last fall had doled out more than $500 billion in loans.
The program was reopened in early January with around $284 billion in new funds. According to the SBA, some 1.3 million new PPP loans have been approved as of the first week of February, with a dollar amount of $101 billion.
In a statement, Michal Roth, SBA senior advisor, said the PPP remains committed to “targeting the smallest of small businesses and providing economic relief at a crucial time in American history.”
Applications for PPP funding will be accepted until March 31.
By Garry Boulard
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