According to the Government Accountability Office, the Small Business Administration has not conducted a comprehensive assessment of the risks of the Paycheck Protection Program because of the need for a rapid execution of the program. The GAO does not consider this an acceptable excuse and noted that an independent auditor reported multiple problems with the loan program.
President Biden on Tuesday signed legislation that will extend the deadline for businesses to apply for Paycheck Protection Program loans from March 31 to May 31.
The legislation, H.R. 1799, also allows the Small Business Administration to continue to process loans until June 30. This will allow loans that are in the pipeline on May 31 to be processed.
The Small Business Administration’s Inspector General has issued a report finding that in the first batch of Paycheck Protection Program loans last year, 4,260 borrowers got two PPP loans when they only should have received one. The SBA intends to not forgive those duplicate loans, but to prevent duplication from happening again, the SBA has added controls that are causing delays and a logjam in loan processing this cycle, raising concerns that businesses will be caught without a loan when the program ends on March 31. The House has now passed legislation that would extend the PPP to the end of May.
Financial services trade groups, including the Credit Union National Association and the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions, are concerned that the Paycheck Protection Program will expire on March 31 with thousands of loans stuck with “holds” that will prevent those small businesses from getting assistance. They want all loan applications received by the March 31 expiration date of the PPP to be processed.
The Credit Union National Association and the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions are warning Congress that small businesses are going to continue to struggle from the economic impact of COVID-19, even after the most recent cycle of the Paycheck Protection Program is completed.
The Biden Administration has been studying the Paycheck Protection Program loan processes and has made some changes designed to smooth the process, cut down on fraud, and give the smallest businesses access to the loans. For two weeks beginning on Wednesday, PPP applications will be limited to businesses with fewer than 20 employees. Other changes have been made to the program too.
The second iteration of the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program is operating much more efficiently than the first version, credit union trade groups said, but added that they continue to run into persistent problems that hamper lenders and borrowers.
The Credit Union National Association and the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions have been letting the Biden administration and legislators know the actions they believe will help credit unions help their members during the pandemic. These lists are extensive, but may be tough to achieve with an administration focused on tightening up financial regulations.
The re-invigorated Paycheck Protection Program remains beset with problems that are keeping small businesses from obtaining much-needed assistance, trade groups representing credit unions and accountants said this week.
Credit union trade groups report that the Small Business Administration and the Treasury Department are still failing to anticipate problems with the Paycheck Protection Program rollout and are still playing catch-up with issues. Nevertheless, the trade groups also report that this rollout has gone a lot smoother than in the past.