MBA, State Trade Associations Urge Trump Administration To Make PPP Loan Forgiveness Process Easier For Small Businesses

Groups said changes will help businesses already at greatest risk because of COVID-19
Media Contact: Lori Bruce, MBA Communications Director
573-636-8151


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Bankers Association, along with 13 statewide associations, is urging President Trump’s administration to streamline the loan forgiveness process for small businesses that received loans through the Paycheck Protection Program in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Small Business Administrator Jovita Carranza, the groups wrote the loan forgiveness process outlined in recent guidance from the Small Business Administration is unnecessarily burdensome on the nation’s small businesses. They are concerned the loan forgiveness process will require even the smallest PPP borrowers to hire outside experts to realize the purpose of the program and receive forgiveness of their PPP loans. SBA estimates that each loan forgiveness application will take up to three hours to complete.

“Businesses will struggle to complete these applications in a timely manner because of this technical and burdensome process,” said Max Cook, MBA president and CEO. “It is in the best interest of small business owners, taxpayers and the policy objectives established by Congress to make the loan forgiveness process easier and less technical for smaller borrowers, whose businesses are already at greatest risk because of COVID-19.”

Established by the CARES Act, the PPP is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic to keep their workers on their payrolls. SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest or utilities. 

SBA figures released May 30 show 86,457 loans were approved for Missouri small businesses, resulting in $9,022,939,369 approved loans. The overall average loan size in Missouri is $104,363.

The state trade associations joining MBA in calling for changes to the loan forgiveness process include the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Heartland Credit Union Association, Associated Industries of Missouri, Missouri Automobile Dealers Association, Missouri Realtors, Missouri Retailers Association, Missouri Tire Industry Association, Missouri Farm Bureau, Missouri Corn Growers Association, Missouri Corn Merchandising Council, Missouri Agribusiness Association, Missouri Restaurant Association and Missouri Cattleman’s Association.

Their concerns also are shared by some members of Missouri’s congressional delegation. Reps. Vicky Hartzler, Blaine Luetkemeyer and Ann Wagner were among a group of House Republicans urging Mnuchin and Carranza to simplify the process PPP borrowers must go through to have their loans forgiven.

The state trade groups want the Trump administration to consider de minimis threshold under which borrowers with outstanding loans may receive 100% PPP loan forgiveness through completion of a simple one-page “PPP-EZ form.” This form would acknowledge the businesses spent the majority of PPP funds to preserve the jobs of their employees, as outlined in the guidance and consistent with their PPP applications. Borrowers could still be asked to maintain documentation in the case of an SBA audit in future years. 

“Simplifying the forgiveness application process for the smallest borrowers will provide additional relief to struggling small businesses by eliminating the existing requirement to spend hours dealing with unnecessarily complicated paperwork, performing calculations or expending precious dollars on consultants in order to comply with the regulations,” Cook said.  

In addition to relieving small businesses of the significant time and expenses required by the guidance released, the streamlined approach for loans also will relieve the SBA from an enormous administrative burden created by millions of requests for forgiveness.

“We are confident that a streamlined process can be created by the Treasury and the SBA that would comply with the CARES Act,” Cook said. “We encourage quick action to establish such a process before these small businesses expend precious resources hiring outside expertise to assist them with the very burdensome process.”

The Missouri Bankers Association is a statewide trade and professional organization in Jefferson City that represents the interests of more than 245 banks and savings and loans in Missouri. MBA serves as the principal advocate for the Missouri banking community and provides educational opportunities, products and services that assist bankers with enhancing their banking operations. For more information, visit mobankers.com. Follow MBA on Twitter at @mobankers.com.
 

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Missouri Bankers Association
June 3, 2020