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Smaller businesses can still apply for the Paycheck Protection Program

Time is running out for smaller businesses to qualify for the priority application period for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program.

But these businesses, as well as small businesses of all sizes, will still be able to apply for forgivable loans outside the priority window.

The 14-day priority window announced by the Biden-Harris administration last month ends at 5 p.m. ET today, March 9. During those two weeks, only businesses with fewer than 20 employees could apply for forgivable loans through PPP, a special period aimed at helping women and minority-owned businesses access funds.

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Even after this window closes, it will still be possible for these companies to apply for and receive funding through the program. While they may be competing with bigger companies for money, lenders don’t expect the program to run out of cash until the March 31 expiration date.

This year, until March 7, the SBA had approved more than 2.4 million PPP loans totaling nearly $ 165 billion. This represents about 58% of the $ 284 billion allocated to the program when it reopened in January.

“We could go over $ 200 billion, but I think there will probably be another $ 50 billion to $ 75 billion left,” said Sam Sidhu, COO of Customers Bank, headquartered in Phoenixville, Pa. .

Smaller companies can still apply

This is important for smaller businesses that wanted to take advantage of the priority request window but delayed submitting documents.

For example, while the special application period opened on February 24, expanded eligibility for those who had had student debt issues, had been convicted of non-fraud, or were Non-citizen business owners didn’t come into effect until the first week of March, confusing some. An updated loan calculation formula that meant more money for businesses with an IRS Form 1040 Schedule C was not announced by the SBA until March 3.

Beyond that, the administration was not ready to process the forms with the new calculation formula until March 5, leaving individual businesses little time to access the priority application period.

But these companies can still apply before the program deadline, Sidhu said, and shouldn’t think that because they missed the priority window they won’t get a loan.

Be aware of the deadline

The March 31 expiration date of the entire program is a concern for many lenders.

“The looming March 31 deadline is a much bigger issue,” said Chris Hurn, managing director of Fountainhead Commercial Capital, a non-bank lender. He added that he was concerned the date might not be enough for all small businesses to take advantage of the new rules or request additional funding rounds, which could be crucial for their survival.

In addition, lenders are also under pressure to process everyone’s loans as quickly as possible, which has been difficult with the changing rules.

“Everyone’s bandwidth has already been dramatically increased over the past year with this program,” Hurn said.

So far, the Biden administration has not signaled that the program will be extended, a move that would have to be approved by Congress.

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