Small Business Administration sounds alarm on PPP loan forgiveness

The application process for PPP loan forgiveness can be done online, by phone or in person at a local SBA office.(Vitalii Vodolazskyi / AdobeStock)

SBA warns borrowers about nearing deadline for PPP loan forgiveness, Fresno SBA office offers helping hand for local loan recipients

FRESNO, TULARE COUNTIES – In response to the COVID-19 crisis, small business owners were given a lifeline through forgivable loans aimed at supporting payroll costs and maintaining operations. However, the Small Business Administration (SBA) wants to let borrowers know that the application deadline for loan forgiveness is approaching.

According to the SBA Fresno, as of March 13 borrowers of the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) can apply for forgiveness benefits through the SBA website, although an official deadline date for applications has not been confirmed as of report.

Dawn Golik, district director of the SBA Fresno district office, emphasized the importance of affected businesses applying for forgiveness on their PPP loans, as well as starting repayment of their Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) if they’re due or – alternatively – seeking enrollment in the hardship program if they are facing financial difficulties.

“The main thing is that they are not alone to figure out what their options are and there is local help available to help if they need it,” Golik said, expressing the office’s commitment to assisting businesses in the San Joaquin Valley and the Central Coast who were provided support during the pandemic.

PPP loans were designed to allow small business owners to compensate employees who were locked out of work during the shutdown. The loans could total up to $100,000 and are fully forgivable, but business owners must apply for forgiveness. The SBA website provides the application for forgiveness.

According to a press release from the National SBA, the application process takes about 15 minutes online. Business owners can also apply by phone to the local SBA office or in person. The Fresno SBA, which covers 15 counties stretching from the San Joaquin Valley to the Central Coast, provides applications for forgiveness and assistance for business owners in English and Spanish.

As for EIDL loans, these were issued through a federal program to help businesses, including agricultural businesses, cover operating expenses. The loans must be repaid but featured long-term rates and low interest. Hardship extensions are currently available to assist businesses that continue to struggle with recovery from the pandemic.

No official deadline has been established at this time for when borrowers will go into default, but the National SBA is warning business owners who have not filed for forgiveness or assistance with repayment that they need to contact the SBA and make arrangements as soon as possible.

Golik noted that the SBA is actively reaching out to Payroll Protection Program and COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan borrowers to ensure they understand how to apply for forgiveness on their PPP loans, that hey understand how make payments on their EIDL loans, or that they request enrollment in the hardship plan to lower payments.

“If they (borrowers) are not sure what the situation with their loan is, they can call our office and we can take a look at their loan for them and help get them pointed in the right direction,” Golik said.

Golik added that the Fresno SBA has been calling borrowers one-on-one and hosting local webinars to make sure the association is reaching out to business owners so they know what help is available and to answer questions they may have.

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