As we reported last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) confirmed that it had delayed recouping Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Program loans made to providers under the CARES Act to allow more time for Congress to negotiate the repayment terms of those loans. On September 30, a short-term spending bill was signed into law that extends the date for when CMS will begin recouping those loans to one year from when the loan was issued. The bill also limits claims offsets to 25% of the full Medicare payment for the first 11 months of recoupment, followed by claims offsets of 50% for 6 months.
The deep economic shocks emanating from the shelter-in-place orders caused by the Covid-19 pandemic are still reverberating through the nation’s economy. While discussions of further stimulus have begun in Washington, it is unlikely any further legislation passed will contain programs as substantial for businesses as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and other programs implemented by the CARES Act. At the time of this writing, the PPP has provided over 4.4 million loans to small businesses across the United States totaling more than $510 billion; however, many argue that does not go far enough to aid businesses. Due to restrictions placed on the use of PPP loan proceeds for forgiveness, recipients must expend at least 75% of PPP loan proceeds on eligible payroll costs. While such restriction is intended to ensure that Americans are employed, the 75% mandate does not leave a significant sum for business owners trying to meet rent/mortgage, utilities, and other obligations. Furthermore, unless the forgiveness period for using the PPP loan proceeds is extended beyond the initial eight-week period to a much longer period, restaurants and other recipients that cannot fully staff operations due to safety concerns and governmental restrictions will not fully benefit from the intended forgiveness provisions. Borrowers that do not receive forgiveness will then find the loan term of two years very challenging.
Accordingly, in addition to the PPP, many business owners have applied for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA). The intent of the EIDL was to provide capital at a reasonable interest rate to businesses to help them through limited operations due to the pandemic. Terms include:
- Historically, the maximum loan amount was $2 million dollars. With the pandemic and increased demand, loans are now capped at $150,000. This lower amount makes the EIDL less appealing to many businesses, especially when coupled with the other terms described below.
- EIDLs may be used for ‘working capital’ such as costs due to supply chain interruption, to pay obligations that cannot be met due to revenue loss and for other uses, but only to alleviate economic injury caused by disaster occurring in the month of January 31, 2020 and continuing thereafter. In addition to other remedies, any misapplication of loan proceeds could result in civil liability to SBA for one and one-half times the proceeds disbursed.
- No personal guarantee is required because the loan is less than $200,000.
- Fixed interest rates of 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for nonprofit entities.
- Typically payments commence after 1 year and the maturity date is in 30 years, although the borrower may prepay the loan in part or in full at any time, without penalty.
While EIDLs offer additional flexibility for business owners in need of funds, there are important restrictions that applicants must be aware of, some of which may interfere with a business’ operations in the normal course.
One important consideration is that for EIDLs in excess of $25,000, the SBA will take a security interest in all ‘Collateral’ defined as:
“all tangible and intangible personal property, including, but not limited to: (a) inventory, (b) equipment, (c) instruments, including promissory notes (d) chattel paper, including tangible chattel paper and electronic chattel paper, (e) documents, (f) letter of credit rights, (g) accounts, including health-care insurance receivables and credit card receivables, (h) deposit accounts, (i) commercial tort claims, (j) general intangibles, including payment intangibles and software and (k) as-extracted collateral as such terms may from time to time be defined in the Uniform Commercial Code.”
Borrowers must determine whether obtaining the EIDL and providing a security interest in the Collateral is a violation of any existing loans, thereby requiring the prior consent of existing lenders. Borrowers will be charged for Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) lien filing fees after including the indebtedness tax and a third-party UCC handling charge of $100, all of which will be deducted from the EIDL proceeds.
Borrowers need to be aware that the SBA EIDL documents restrict the sale or transfer of any collateral (except for normal inventory turnover in the ordinary course of business) without prior written consent of the SBA. If borrowers keep the loan for the entire term, disposing of obsolete Collateral will be a cumbersome process.
More importantly, many borrowers have existing lines of credit secured by some or all of the Collateral. Because any such preexisting line of credit will have a superior lien compared to the SBA’s security interest, and after receipt of an EIDL, the business will need the consent of the SBA to utilize the line of credit for any purpose, including inventory purchases or other regular business operations, there will be delays in normal business operations. Borrowers must therefore be aware that until they repay the EIDL in full, they are likely to be prohibited from seeking or accepting any future advances under existing lines of credit, and that other lenders may be hesitant to extend new lines of credit when they will not have a first priority position in the Collateral. This has the, perhaps unanticipated, effect of either making lines of credit unavailable to borrowers, or causing unaware or desperate borrowers to breach the terms of their EIDL and possibly their existing lines of credit.
While these restrictions, and numerous others included in the EIDL documents, may not ultimately cause a business owner to decline an EIDL, it is important to understand the implications and restrictions prior to accepting the loan. Any default could result in the entirety of the loan balance becoming immediately due and payable, and any false statement or misrepresentation may result in criminal, civil or administrative sanctions.
Interim Final Rules issued by the Small Business Administration and Treasury Department late Friday night provide additional guidance to lenders on forgiveness of loans made under the Paycheck Protection Program. Under the rules:
Lender’s Duties With Respect to Forgiveness Applications. For all loan forgiveness applications, the lender will be required to confirm receipt of the borrower certifications contained in the application and the documentation borrowers must submit to aid in verifying payroll and non-payroll costs, as well as confirm the borrower’s calculations on the application. Lenders also must confirm that the borrower made the loan forgiveness calculation correctly, by dividing the borrower’s eligible payroll costs claimed by 0.75. Lenders are expected to perform a good-faith review, in a reasonable time, of the borrower’s calculations and supporting documents.
Reliance on Borrower Representations. The rules provide that lenders may rely on borrower representations. However, if the lender identifies errors in the borrower’s calculation or a material lack of substantiation in the borrower’s supporting documents, the lender must work with the borrower to remedy the issue. Lenders will not need to independently verify the borrower’s reported information if the borrower submits documentation supporting its forgiveness request and attests that it accurately verified the payments for eligible costs.
Decisions on Loan Forgiveness Applications. The lender must issue a decision to the SBA on a loan forgiveness application not later than 60 days after receipt of a complete application from the borrower. That decision may take the form of an approval in whole or in part, denial, or, if directed by the SBA, a denial without prejudice due to a pending SBA review of the loan. In the case of a denial without prejudice, the borrower may subsequently request that the lender reconsider its application unless the SBA has determined that the borrower is ineligible.
When the lender issues its decision to the SBA, it must request payment from the SBA and include the loan forgiveness calculation form and Schedule A. Subject to any SBA review of the loan or loan application, the SBA will remit the appropriate forgiveness amount to the lender, plus any interest accrued through the date of payment, within 90 days. If the lender determines that the borrower is not entitled to forgiveness in any amount, the lender must provide the SBA copies of Schedule A and the PPP borrower demographic information form (if submitted to the lender). In either case, the lender must confirm that the information provided by the lender to the SBA accurately reflects its records for the loan, and that the lender made its decision in accordance with applicable requirements. The lender must also notify the borrower in writing that the lender has issued a decision to the SBA denying the loan forgiveness application.
SBA Review of PPP Loans. The SBA may review any PPP loan at any time in its discretion. That review may examine the borrower’s eligibility, the calculation of the loan amount, whether the borrower used the loan proceeds for allowable uses and whether the borrower is entitled to loan forgiveness in the amount claimed in the borrower’s loan forgiveness application. If the SBA undertakes such a review, the SBA will notify the lender in writing and the lender must then notify the borrower. In addition, the lender will be required to transmit to the SBA, among other things, electronic copies of the borrower application (SBA Form 2483 or lender’s equivalent form), and the loan forgiveness application, if any (SBA Form 3508 or lender’s equivalent form), as well as all supporting documentation provided by the borrower. The lender must also request that the borrower provide a copy of the Schedule A worksheet to the loan forgiveness application and submit the worksheet to the SBA.
If the loan documentation submitted to the SBA or any other information indicates that the borrower may be ineligible for a PPP loan or may be ineligible to receive the loan amount or loan forgiveness amount claimed, the lender will be required to contact the borrower to request additional information and provide any additional information provided to the SBA. If the SBA notifies the lender that it has commenced a loan review, the lender may not approve an application for loan forgiveness until the SBA notifies the lender in writing that it has completed its review.
SBA Denial of Forgiveness Application. The SBA may direct a lender to deny a loan forgiveness application if it determines that a borrower is ineligible for the PPP loan. It may direct a lender to deny an application, in whole or in part, if it determines that the borrower is ineligible for the loan amount or loan forgiveness amount claimed. It may also seek repayment of the outstanding PPP loan balance or pursue other available remedies.
Document Retention. Lenders must comply with applicable SBA requirements for records retention, which for Federally regulated lenders means compliance with the requirements of their federal financial institution regulator.
Eligibility for Processing Fees. Lenders will be required to forfeit and repay to the SBA any lender processing fee received for any SBA-reviewed PPP loan if, within one year after the loan was disbursed, the SBA determines that a borrower was ineligible based on the provisions of the CARES Act or applicable rules or guidance available at the time of the borrower’s loan application, or the terms of the loan application. If a lender fails to satisfy its applicable obligations, the SBA may also seek repayment of the lender processing fee from the lender and may determine that the loan is not eligible for a guaranty.
PPP Loan Forgiveness Checklist
Required Documentation for Borrower’s Forgiveness Application:
- confirm receipt of the borrower certifications contained in the forgiveness application
- confirm receipt and review the documentation borrower must submit to aid in verifying payroll and non-payroll costs
- check the borrower’s calculations on the application (divide the borrower’s eligible payroll costs claimed by 0.75)
- confirm the borrower has corrected any errors identified during the review
Within 60 days after receipt of complete Forgiveness Application:
- issue decision to the SBA of lender’s decision on the loan forgiveness application
- approval in whole or in part
- if directed by the SBA, a denial without prejudice due to a pending SBA review of the loan
Note: If the SBA notifies the lender that it has commenced a loan review, the lender may not approve an application for loan forgiveness until the SBA notifies the lender in writing that it has completed its review.
- request payment from the SBA and include the loan forgiveness calculation form and Schedule A
- provide the SBA copies of Schedule A and the PPP borrower demographic information form (if submitted to the lender) if there is a determination that the borrower is not entitled to forgiveness in any amount
- confirm that the information provided by the lender to the SBA accurately reflects its records for the loan, and that the lender made its decision in accordance with applicable requirements
- notify the borrower of the lender’s decision on the loan (written notice of denial required)
When the SBA undertakes a review of a PPP loan:
- notify the borrower if/when notified that SBA is undertaking review
- transmit to the SBA electronic copies of the borrower application and the loan forgiveness application, as well as all supporting documentation provided by the borrower
- request that the borrower provide a copy of the Schedule A worksheet to the loan forgiveness application and submit the worksheet to the SBA
- if required, contact the borrower to request additional information and provide any additional information provided to the SBA