With negotiations having ground to a halt over the next round of federal COVID-related stimulus, the PACB board of directors authorized a letter to Congressional leaders, urging the immediate consideration of stand-alone legislation to forgive Paycheck Protection Loans of $150,000 or less.
In the letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signed by all of the PACB board of directors, the community bankers urged lawmakers to take up the PACB-supported Paycheck Protection Small Business Forgiveness Act (S4117 and HR 777). A similar letter recently was signed by PACB President and CEO Kevin L. Shivers, CAE, and the presidents of 44 other community banking associations and business trade groups on behalf of the stand-alone forgiveness bill.
“Nearly 5 million small businesses nationwide that participated in the PPP have been significantly harmed this year and face continued risk because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” wrote PACB board members. “While the PPP was incredibly helpful when businesses needed it most, as small businesses continue to recover, having to complete a complicated forgiveness process will discourage many from applying and could place them in the position of taking on further debt simply because the forgiveness process was needlessly complex. Small businesses across the nation urgently need the relief this bill would provide and are counting on Congress to act quickly.”
This broadly supported, bipartisan and bicameral legislation would create a presumption of compliance for obtaining forgiveness for Paycheck Protection Program loans with an original balance of $150,000 or less. The bills have been introduced in the Senate (S. 4117) by Senators Kevin Cramer and Robert Menendez and have 30 co-sponsors. The House companion bill (H.R. 7777), introduced by Representatives Chrissy Houlahan, Pennsylvania and Fred Upton, has 70 co-sponsors.
In its September 21, 2020 report, the General Accounting Office warned that complex forgiveness applications could take up to 15 hours for borrowers to complete and 75 hours for lenders to review.
“We must not allow the success of the program to be undermined by an overly complex process for obtaining forgiveness,” said PACB President Kevin Shivers. “At the same time, we are very concerned that the complexity, lack of guidance, and uncertainty surrounding Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness could undermine the number of financial institutions who choose to participate in subsequent rounds of the program.”
Small-business owners must not be distracted from the challenge of adapting their businesses to a new environment and protecting their employees and customers’ safety by a detailed and demanding forgiveness process or the expense of hiring an accountant.
With negotiations at a standstill, PACB board members are urging members to contact their Congress members urging support for the stand-alone Paycheck Protection Program Forgiveness legislation. The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) has created an action alert on its website that community bankers can contact their lawmakers. To access the ICBA Action Center, please visit icba.org.
PACB has posted a copy of the letter signed by its board of directors along with contact information for each member of Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation.
The Pennsylvania Association of Community Bankers