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New loan forgiveness portal opens Wednesday

Government
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A new portal designed to speed relief to small businesses with $150,000 or less in Paycheck Protection Program loans opens Wednesday.

The streamlined application portal will allow borrowers with PPP loans of $150,000 or less from participating lenders to apply for loan forgiveness directly through the SBA.

Borrowers who need assistance can call 877-552-2692 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.

The SBA said the portal will help speed relief to more than 6.5 million of the nation’s smallest businesses.

“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,” SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said in a news release. “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 SBA and lenders have originated more than 11.7 million PPP loans to more than 8.5 million small businesses totaling nearly $800 billion.

More than 600 banks have opted into the direct forgiveness program, enabling more than 2.2 million borrowers to apply, according to the SBA.

“This initiative will allow PPP borrowers to put their concerns of achieving full forgiveness behind them and focus on operating and growing their businesses again,” Patrick Kelley, associate administrator for SBA’s Office of Capital Access, said. “We are pleased to be able to assist financial institutions across the U.S. in processing forgiveness applications for small business owners.”

In 2021, the SBA approved more than 6.5 million in loans totaling more than $275 billion, with an average loan size of less than $42,000, according to the organization. In 2020, the average loan size was $101,000.

Also in 2021, 96% of PPP loans went to businesses with fewer than 20 employees, compared to 87% in 2020, the SBA said.

The resilience of the nation’s small business owners will be celebrated during the 2021 National Small Business Week Virtual Summit, to take place Sept. 13-15.

The summit will include education panels, information on support services and representatives from Fortune 500 companies who will share keys to their success as well as entrepreneurial resources. Business owners will be able to use virtual booths to develop connections with public and private sector partners, learn about new business strategies, meet other entrepreneurs and talk with industry experts.

Summit speakers will be announced at a later date.

“As the voice for America’s 30 million small businesses and innovative startups, it’s my pleasure to announce the SBA’s annual National Small Business Week Summit,” Guzman said in a video message. “Over the last 16 months, we have seen the incredible determination and ingenuity of small businesses across the nation. During NSBW, we will honor and celebrate their impact on our economy and strengthening of communities as we look towards recovery.”

Registration is available online at www.sba.gov/national-small-business-week.

Reach Melinda Waldrop at 803-726-7542.

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