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Paycheck Protection Program opens for community banks, larger lenders next week

SALISBURY — After opening earlier this week for financial institutions dedicated to underserved and minority small businesses, the Paycheck Protection Program application portal will be available to community lenders starting today.

Financial institutions such as F&M that have $1 billion or less in assets will be able to access the Small Business Administration portal to submit first and second draw loans starting at 9 a.m. today. This opens the process to community banks, credit unions and farm credit institutions, but it doesn’t yet open the portal for larger banks.

Ensuring that smaller, underserved lenders and businesses have early access to PPP loans has been a priority for the SBA since congress revived the program through the passage of the $900 million COVID-19 relief package signed into law by President Donald Trump on Dec. 27.

Next week, larger lenders will be brought into the fold when the portal opens on Tuesday to all participating PPP lenders to submit first and second draw applications. That’s over a week after the program reopened for banks categorized as Community Development Financial Institutions and Minority Depository Institutions that serve minority and underserved communities.

When the clock struck 9 a.m. on Monday, those lenders were able to submit first draw loans for applicants who hadn’t previously received a PPP loan. Two days later those same institutions were able to submit second draw loan applications.

Included under that umbrella was Self-Help Credit Union, a state and federally chartered credit union with a branch on Statesville Boulevard.

Claudie Johnson, a city executive for Self-Help Credit who oversees the Charlotte region, said that he was glad to see institutions such as his receive early access to the new round of PPP.

“I applaud our legislators for putting in place where we’re going to start with folks that one, didn’t get a PPP loan the first time and then two, limit it, as far as the portal, limit it to smaller, minority development banks and community development financial institutions such as ours,” Johnson said. “That was welcome.”

Johnson said that the credit union helped facilitate at least one PPP loan for a Rowan County business when the program was open last year.

In total, the Self-Help Credit Union helped facilitate loans for 1,758 applicants. Although Johnson said that the credit union didn’t submit any applications during the early window provided to them by the SBA, he anticipates beating that number over the coming months.

“I expect it to be well over 1,800,” Johnson said. “Most folks are going to participate for a second time and then to pick up the new folks that, for whatever reason, weren’t prepared the last time and may not have been eligible.”

For more information about the Self-Help Credit Union, visit Self-helpfcu.org or call the Salisbury location at 704-637-6528.

To apply for a forgivable PPP loan, businesses need to contact a local lender. A list of participating lenders can be found online at www.sba.gov. The SBA has also introduced an online lender matching tool aimed at helping borrowers find small lenders who traditionally serve underserved communities.

For more information on SBA’s assistance to small businesses, visit sba.gov/ppp or treasury.gov/cares.

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