On April 13th the League participated in a meeting with Centris FCU and team members from Congressman Don Bacon’s office to discuss the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The meeting was held at Centris FCU’s new headquarters located near 132nd and Pacific Streets in Omaha. The PPP was passed by Congress in mid-2020 to help small businesses continue paying their employees during the economic shutdown due to the COVID 19 pandemic. The PPP was implemented by the Small Business Administration (SBA) with the help of participating credit unions and banks nationwide getting the funds out to small businesses. Congress intended that the funds provided to businesses through the PPP would be low interest loans that ultimately would become grants. The first round of PPP was so popular that later in the year Congress passed legislation for a second round.
The forgiveness phase of the program is under way with many of the PPP loans being forgiven as expected. However, during the meeting Centris FCU’s CEO Steve Swanstrom and SVP of Commerical Lending Kevin Svec explained that there has been some inconsistencies with forgiveness including long delays on some PPP loans that have had applications submitted for forgiveness well over the 90 days that Congress provided the SBA to decide on forgiveness applications. Communication with the SBA on outstanding forgiveness applications has been a challenge for credit unions who must rely solely on electronic communications with the agency and the local SBA office appears to lack the ability to provide any direct line of communication with Washington D.C. In one case, a delay has occurred because the SBA has said the applicant’s business address is a residence but in fact the business is located in a downtown Omaha commercial building. The League was pleased that Congressman Bacon’s staff will be assisting with efforts to urge the SBA to prioritize those forgiveness applications that are beyond the allotted 90 days because after all it is the small businesses that suffer through the delays.