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On April 2, the OCC issued Bulletin 2020-31 and the FDIC issued Financial Institution Letter (FIL) 33-2020 to highlight for banks the SBA-relief programs available pursuant to the CARES Act. The bulletin urges banks to utilize the programs to help small businesses that have been financially impacted by Covid-19, adding that the SBA “is streamlining its eligibility criteria and processes to enable more financial institutions to use these programs for eligible small business borrowers.” The guidance highlights three relief programs, including (i) the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which is “an expansion of the SBA’s 7(a) loan program” and provides SBA-guaranteed loans to eligible borrowers; (ii) the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Loan Advance Program, which is also an expansion of a current SBA program—the disaster assistance loan program—where borrowers may receive a loan of up to $2 million for working capital, and up to $10,000 as an advance that the borrower is not required to repay; and (iii) the Debt Relief Program, which provides 6 months of principal, interest and fees on 7(a) loans already in existence or originated prior to September 27.
Additional information on PPP loans can be found on the SBA website here and on the Treasury Department website here. Information about other SBA resources can be found here, and on the FDIC’s Coronavirus Information page here.
On Tuesday, March 31, the Department of the Treasury and the Small Business Administration released initial details regarding the nearly $350 billion Paycheck Protection Program established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. Under the program, private lenders will offer SBA-guaranteed loans to small businesses that require capital to meet payroll and other expenses.
The SBA published a COVID-19-specific webpage with additional information about programs and resources, and Treasury posted four documents outlining key features of the program, as well as information for borrowers and lenders:
- The PPP Overview describes the program’s scope, eligibility requirements, and application process. It notes that no-fee loans used to meet payroll and to pay mortgage interest, rent, or utilities may be forgiven, with payments deferred for up to six months. Businesses in all industries with up to 500 employees are eligible, and larger businesses in certain industries may also be eligible. Applications will be accepted starting April 3, 2020.
- The PPP Lender Information Fact Sheet provides details regarding lenders that are eligible to make the SBA-guaranteed loans. Importantly, all existing SBA-certified lenders are granted “delegated authority” to originate loans eligible for the SBA guarantee (subject to eligibility and other requirements). Federally insured depository institutions and credit unions, as well as Farm Credit System institutions, may also make SBA-guaranteed loans under the program. Lenders that currently do not hold SBA certification may submit applications to participate to the address noted in the Lender Fact Sheet. We expect additional detail regarding the application process in the near future.
- The PPP Borrower Fact Sheet sets forth information for potential small-business borrowers. One important condition of obtaining a loan under the program: Employee and compensation levels must be maintained. However payroll costs are capped at $100,000 on an annualized basis for each employee, so any amounts above $100,000 paid to a single employee will not be calculated in the loan amount nor towards meeting a potential threshold for loan forgiveness (e.g., SBA indicates non-payroll costs may be limited to not more than 25% of the forgiven amount). Additional details regarding an exact percentage of the loan that must be used for payroll are forthcoming.
- The PPP Application Form is now available online. Small businesses will need to provide basic information and respond to disclosure questions, including whether the business is delinquent on any federal debt. The application form requires that the borrower respond to seven certification statements that relate to the intended use of funds, the necessity of the loan to support ongoing obligations of the business, the total number of employees, and that the information in the application is correct. It appears that lenders will calculate loan amounts by referencing the businesses’ prior-year tax returns. Due to the federal extension on filing taxes, most businesses will likely submit 2018 tax returns for review.
Please see Buckley’s March 30 Special Alert for additional information on the program. We will continue to provide timely updates regarding any guidance published on this topic on our dedicated SBA page, which includes additional SBA resources you may find helpful. If you have any questions regarding the matters discussed in this alert, please contact a Buckley attorney with whom you have worked in the past.
Special Alert: CARES Act places significant burdens on servicers of consumer debt but provides some relief to depositories
President Trump late last week signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act that attempts to soften the negative economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on consumers, including by suspending payments for certain student loan borrowers and enabling mortgage loan borrowers to easily obtain temporary forbearances. The act also provides certain limited regulated relief for banks and credit unions.
This Special Alert summarizes the provisions providing relief to borrowers with federal student loans and the provisions of Title IV that dictate the manner in which servicers and collectors report borrowers to consumer reporting bureaus; provide forbearance, foreclosure, and eviction relief throughout the housing market; and provide limited regulatory relief to depository institutions.
Buckley issued a separate Special Alert on the Small Business Administration-related provisions contained in Title I of the act and will be covering separately the new Special Inspector General’s office created by the act, False Claims Act considerations, and other liability risks that we expect to arise.
On March 31, the CFPB released guidance for consumers who have been negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and may have difficulty making mortgage or rent payments. Pursuant to the recently passed CARES Act, for homeowners with federally backed mortgages, no foreclosures may be initiated for 60 days beginning on March 18, and homeowners financially impacted by Covid-19 have the right to a forbearance of up to 180 days. The guidance lays out mortgage relief options as well as the process for homeowners to determine the programs for which they qualify. According to the guidance, the CARES Act also protects renters by suspending evictions for 120 days beginning on March 27 if the landlord has a federally backed mortgage. The guidance notes that even if the landlord does not have a federally backed mortgage, most states have also suspended evictions during the pandemic. The guidance also includes information on how homeowners can request mortgage relief from their servicers, including sample questions and other tips. Further, the guidance cautions homeowners to carefully monitor their mortgage statements and credit reports and describes how to avoid scams.
Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation issues guidance to student loan servicers
On March 30, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, Division of Banking (Division), issued guidance encouraging Illinois-licensed student loan servicers to make prudent efforts to meet the financial needs of all student loan borrowers affected directly or indirectly by the Covid-19 pandemic. The guidance reiterates the importance of provisions in the Illinois Student Loan Servicing Rights Act that prohibit servicers from engaging in any unfair or deceptive practices and misapplying payments made by borrowers. Servicers are reminded that they are obligated to lay out all available options to borrowers, including income-based repayment, deferment, forbearance, and relieving borrowers of interest. In addition to adhering to the credit reporting provisions set forth under the CARES Act, the Division also encourages student loan servicers to use the disaster status code in conjunction with a deferment when reporting to the consumer credit reporting agencies to minimize any negative credit reporting impact to consumers due to the Covid-19 crisis.
Special Alert: CARES Act “Paycheck Protection Program” offers relief and opportunities for small businesses and lenders
On March 27, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act or the Act). The legislation’s first title, the “Keeping American Workers Paid and Employed Act,” provides a host of relief measures for small businesses, including $349 billion for Small Business Administration (SBA) loan forgiveness, guarantees, and subsidies. This Special Alert summarizes pertinent SBA-related provisions of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and potential opportunities for both (i) small businesses, and (ii) existing and new SBA lenders to grow their small business lending portfolios. We will provide an update on the relief measures following the Treasury Department’s (Treasury) release of additional program details, which is expected imminently.
We will provide timely updates regarding any guidance published on this topic on our dedicated SBA page, which includes additional SBA resources you may find helpful. If you have any questions regarding the matters discussed in this Alert, please contact a Buckley attorney with whom you have worked in the past.
On March 27, the CFPB issued guidance on the student loan provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Pursuant to the Act, borrowers with federally held student loans will automatically have their loan principal and interest payments paused until September 30. Borrowers do not need to take any action to have their payments suspended and interest will not accrue during this period. The CFPB also provided additional guidance on the impact on privately held student loans and federal loans held by commercial lenders, and provided information to help borrowers avoid student loan debt relief scams.
On March 18, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) proposed relief legislation which, among other things, would temporarily allow fintechs to offer “small business interruption loans” for as long as the Covid-19 national emergency is in effect. The “CARES Act” or Corornavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, would provide nearly $300 trillion in additional funds to the SBA in order to provide emergency government-backed loans. Under the proposal, small businesses eligible for the SBA Section 7(a) loans with 500 or fewer employees, could use the loans to fund, such things as (i) paid sick, medical, or family leave; (ii) group health care benefits; (iii) employee salaries; (iv) mortgage payments; and (v) utilities. In addition, the proposal provides for loan deferment for a year and loan forgiveness for loans used to cover payroll expenses.
- Sherry-Maria Safchuk to discuss “Hot topics outside of CA” at the California Mortgage Bankers Association Conference
- Jon David D. Langlois to discuss “LIBOR Transition: How will the pieces come together in time?” at the American Bar Association In the Know-Live webinar
- Buckley Webcast: Dissecting the annual federal agency fair lending summit
- Jonice Gray Tucker to discuss “Regulators always ring twice: Responding to a government request” at ALM Legalweek