The CARES Act, passed on March 27, 2020, kicked off a chaotic and unorganized process of applying for a new program called the Paycheck Protection Program. On the surface, this looked like a great program for struggling businesses. A loan that can be forgiven if used to pay employees, rent, and other approved business expenses. This idea was far better than saddling small businesses with more debt than they already have.
The initial problem was that lawmakers passed a bill that had absolutely no procedures or processes in place. Banks scrambled to obtain guidance with bankers working around the clock to get an approved SBA application…and then the application changed just hours before the launch of the program. Then, the money ran out two weeks into the program. As we gear up for round 2 of funding, here’s what you need to do immediately to obtain funds:
- Get a copy of the application (https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/2020-04/PPP%20Borrower%20Application%20Form.pdf) now.
- Fill it out completely. Do not leave a single field blank. If you do not know the answer or how to calculate your monthly payroll, call your accountant, your payroll specialist, or a professional who can explain it to you. The funds for this program are going to people who can follow instructions.
- There are specific documents required to move your application along to the next stage. They generally include your 2019 940 and 941 tax documents, bank statements to show proof of payroll, payroll reports to verify monthly payroll costs, and benefit invoices/statements. Your application does not move at all if you do not provide every single document that is requested.
- If your bank requests something specific to complete your application, stop what you are doing and immediately find that document and submit it electronically and in a readable format. Do not wait until tomorrow or next week. Your application will be pushed to the side.
- Finally, not specific to PPP, but it became apparent that the majority of really small businesses who got funds in the initial round banked with smaller, local, or private banks. I highly suggest you find a bank where you have a personal relationship with a banker. I always hear from people that they have banked at xxx big bank for years and it’s too hard to switch or things are fine. When things go sideways, you want the bank where you have the cell phone number of your banker and she answers your call every time.
If you are looking to obtain funds under Round 2. Start now. Get your documents together. Respond to requests for documents. Understand how the program works. We wish you the best of luck in the coming weeks!
This is just a basic overview and is not legal advice specific to your situation. If you have questions about your rights when it comes to debt and credit, you should speak with an attorney in your area for legal advice. If you live in California or North Dakota and would like to speak with Jen Lee Law regarding your situation, please schedule an appointment.