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The second iteration of the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program is operating much more efficiently than the first version, credit union trade groups said, but added that they continue to run into persistent problems that hamper lenders and borrowers.
“SBA’s PPP has matured extensively over the short period of time since enacted and it appears that SBA has applied many of the lessons learned to the PPP Second Draw Program, which has made the implementation of the program much easier for lenders,” Lance Noggle, CUNA’s senior director of advocacy and counsel wrote in a letter to the agency.
NAFCU officials agreed. “In general, credit unions have reported a more streamlined and smoother rollout compared to the initial waves of PPP funding; however, they are still encountering difficulties,” Kaley Schafer, NAFCU’s senior regulatory counsel told the agency.
In the Second Draw program, some small businesses that receive a first PPP loan may qualify for a second loan. That has complicated the process, since the SBA is processing loans for first-time borrowers, processing loan forgiveness for initial borrowers and processing loans for second-time borrowers.
Noggle said the SBA’s loan approval process remains slow and that credit unions continue to discover errors made by the agency. For instance, the SBA has said that a borrower’s First Draw loan is under review, when it already has been forgiven or the borrower has not yet applied for forgiveness, according to Noggle. In some cases, an applicant has been reported as being deceased, when the borrower is still alive.
Noggle added that credit unions are concerned that they may not have adequate support from the SBA to solve problems they face. “Credit unions have reported to CUNA extended delays running into weeks for help from call centers, which makes it difficult to obtain help with questions and issues,” he wrote.
Schafer agreed that credit unions continue to have problems getting timely answers to questions. Some credit unions have had to shift staff or hire additional employees to accommodate the expanded program, according to Schafer.
“Stretched resources are a concern as credit unions face a backlog of forgiveness applications to process,” she added. “The SBA should remain cognizant of the issues facing credit unions and other lenders and work towards improving the overall forgiveness process and provide flexibilities wherever possible.”