Forgivable Small Business Loans to Bring Relief

March 31, 2020

The U.S. Small Business Administration is gearing up for what’s being called an “unprecedented" level of funding soon to be available under the new Paycheck Protection Program.

Sole proprietors, independent contractors, gig economy workers, and self-employed individuals who are struggling to pay their bills due to the shutdowns and stay-in-place orders aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus are all eligible for a small-business loan. The $350 billion program is part of the $2 trillion economic stimulus package passed by Congress last week and signed into law by President Donald Trump last Friday. According to the SBA website, lenders may begin processing loan applications as soon as Friday, April 3.

"We haven't seen this level of funding and money being pushed out of the SBA in such an extremely narrow window of time. It's going to be difficult logistically,” said David Pommerehn, Consumer Bankers Association general counsel, in a Politico article. “The industry as a whole, including the SBA and partner lenders, really needs to work very tightly to make sure as much goes out as possible, as quickly as possible."

Small businesses and independently owned franchises that are approved by the SBA and that employ 500 employees or fewer can qualify. The amount any small business is eligible to borrow is 250% of their average monthly payroll expenses (with individual salaries capped at $100,000 per year), up to a total of $10 million. The amount of the loan is intended to cover eight weeks of payroll expenses and any additional amounts for making payments towards debt obligations. The eight-week period may be applied to any time frame between Feb. 15, 2020 and June 30, 2020.

The goal of the program is to help business owners retain their employees at their current base pay. If all employees are retained and the business maintains at least 75% of their average salary levels during the 8-weeks, the entirety of the loan will be forgiven. If any employees are laid off or salary levels go below 75%, the forgiveness will be reduced by the percent decrease in the number of employees.

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan program will also offer up to $2 million for working capital costs, with a possible $10,000 advance grant that will be forgiven if applied to a permissible use, including payroll, paid time off, mortgage, rent, utilities, and debts from prior to Feb. 15, 2020. If the loan is used for other purposes, the borrower will have 30 years to pay it off at an interest rate of no more than 3.75%, with the first month’s payment deferred a full year from the date of the promissory note. 

Business owners can get both loans, but they cannot use them for the same purposes. In addition, if the borrower receives a $10,000 EIDL advance grant and PPP loan, the advance grant will not be forgiven. 

For more information, visit the National Association of REALTORS®' coronavirus advocacy frequently asked questions page and click on "Independent Contractor/Small Business Concerns."