CBA Statement on HEALS Act PPP Forgiveness

Streamlined forgiveness vital for small businesses, but Congress must provide specifics

WASHINGTON – Consumer Bankers Association President and CEO Richard Hunt issued the following statement on the Paycheck Protection Program forgiveness provision in the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability, and Schools (HEALS) Act:

“Streamlined forgiveness for millions of small businesses on Main Street struggling through this pandemic is an absolute must and we are glad it is a central part of these negotiations. The details, however, matter.

“The original forgiveness process outlined by SBA required five pages of calculations and extensive financial know-how, which would require the majority of mom-and-pop businesses to hire outside accountants. Even the SBA’s ‘EZ’ form would take significant resources for America’s smallest businesses to complete. Maybe the third time is the charm, but Congress should not leave something this important to chance.

“During the negotiation process, Congress must improve the forgiveness language by providing crystal-clear, prescriptive guidance like the bipartisan legislation introduced by Sens. Cramer, Menendez, Tillis and Sinema and Reps. Houlahan and Upton, which has the support of more than 140 small business and lending groups.”

NOTE: CBA is leading a coalition of more than 140 members representing thousands of banks, credit unions, financial institutions, and businesses of all sizes in supporting bipartisan legislation in both the House of Representatives and Senate calling for streamlined forgiveness of PPP loans less than $150,000 if the borrower answers a simple, one-question attestation the funds were used in accordance to PPP guidelines to retain employees. Nothing in the legislation prevents the audit of PPP loans less than $150,000 for fraud. The House legislation (H. 7777) was introduced by Reps. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Penn.) and Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and the Senate bill (S. 4117) was introduced by Sens. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.). According to independent analysis by AQN Strategies, simplified or automatic forgiveness could collectively save the smallest small businesses owners more than $7 billion dollars and hours of paperwork.