Georgia Banks Mobilized for Small Business Lending Program, SBA Provides Helpful Clarity

Friday, April 3rd, 2020

Georgia’s banks are mobilizing to help distribute $349 billion in emergency Small Business Administration (SBA) loans to small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), part of the CARES Act passed by Congress last week. 

“Our bankers have worked countless hours trying to decipher the original guidance around the PPP loans. We joined many others in telling the Administration the real challenges with the program and it appears from our early read of revised guidance just out, they listened. While there are plenty of steps to take to get procedures in place, bankers will continue working around the clock so this money can get in the hands of our deserving small businesses as soon as possible,” said GBA president and CEO Joe Brannen. 

Late Thursday the SBA provided much-needed clarity to banks through an Interim Final Rule regarding the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”). The rule is effective immediately and can be relied on by lenders as they begin accepting and processing applications. The rule provided answers to critical questions facing the industry including specific underwriting guidance, instructions for important borrower certifications, a streamlined process to automatically qualify all banks that are in good financial condition to be authorized SBA lenders, and clarity on lender liability protections.

“It will take a little time for processes and procedures to be put in place to make the loan program work. Getting this program ready, right, and the money in the hands of the small businesses that are entitled to it, is a monumental task but a top priority. Our banks in Georgia have been providing significant borrower assistance since day-one of this public health crisis. Georgia’s banks strongly support small businesses and they’ve already done a lot such as restructuring loans, helping with cash flow and extending additional lines of credit,” Brannen said.

Small business customers interested in applying for the loans are encouraged to reach out to their bank, get key documentation ready about payroll and eligible expenses and be ready to complete applications. 

Details for borrowers, including a sample loan application form, are available from the U.S. Small Business Administration website here: Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).