Banks welcome PPP loan cancellation portal, but not all rush to use it
The Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program loan remission portal is up and running, but not all banks are rushing to go online.
The portal opened on August 10 and was generally well received by bank executives surveyed by S&P Global Market Intelligence. Many said it offered clear procedures and provided an efficient interface between the SBA and financial institutions.
“We were ready to go this morning,” said Cyrene Wilke, operations and technology team manager at Investors Community Bank in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, on launch day.
Financial institutions must submit their decisions on their clients’ loan forgiveness applications to the SBA within 60 days of their verdict being delivered. Investors Community Bank opened its application process on July 1, according to David Coggins, executive vice president and chief banking officer.
Wilke said the online forgiveness process runs “day and night” compared to the P3 loan application process in April, which she described as a “nightmare.” She said the portal’s process for documenting forgiveness requirements – such as showing that 60% of a borrower’s loan went to salary expenses and 40% to overhead – is “well described.”
Meanwhile, other banks are withholding access to the portal.
The SBA released a 43-page guide on how to use the portal on August 7, and Michele Vervlied, SBA operations manager at Customers Bancorp Inc. in Pennsylvania, said his bank will take longer to review the instructions so that they fully understand the process.
“It’s a week of decision making on when and how to open our application process,” said Vervlied. “Forgiveness is a complicated process, and we want to make sure we have all of our ducks in a row.”
In addition, uncertainty surrounding future PPP legislation, including the proposal to automatically cancel PPP loans below $ 150,000, has forced some banks to remain stranded.
William “Billy” Carroll Jr., president and CEO of SmartFinancial Inc. in Knoxville, Tennessee, said 85% of his bank’s PPP loans would automatically be canceled under the proposed legislation. Thus, SmartFinancial decided to wait until the dust settles on Capitol Hill before submitting requests for pardon.
Michael Budinger, director of financial institutions consulting firm Crowe LLP in Chicago, said he expects delays from his clients as they assess the portal and their borrowers’ needs, but the Most will eventually use it.
“There certainly seems to be more communication this time around with the SBA,” he said. “They tried to make the process as transparent as possible.”
“It’s a lot more user-friendly. It’s pretty self-explanatory in terms of what’s required and what isn’t,” Budinger said, praising the “global platform” that gives users the ability to monitor the status of their applications.