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The latest developments on the COVID-19 pandemic

The latest developments on the COVID-19 pandemic as of March 25th, 2020:

The Senate is expected to pass tonight The Keeping American Workers Paid and Employed Act. It would provide $377 billion to help prevent workers from losing their jobs and small businesses from going under due to economic losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Paycheck Protection Program would provide 8 weeks of cash-flow assistance through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to small employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. If the employer maintains its payroll, then the portion of the loan used for covered payroll costs, interest on mortgage obligations, rent, and utilities would be forgiven, which would help workers to remain employed and affected small businesses and our economy to recover quickly from this crisis. This proposal would be retroactive to February 15, 2020 to help bring workers who may have already been laid off back onto payrolls.

  • Paycheck Protection Program
    • The bill would provide $350 billion to support loans through a new Paycheck Protection Program for:
      • Small employers with 500 employees or fewer, as well as those that meet the current Small Business Administration(SBA) size standards;
      • Self-employed individuals and “gig economy” individuals; and
      • Certain nonprofits, including 501(c)(3) organizations and 501(c)(19) veteran organizations, and tribal business concerns with under 500 employees.
    • The size of the loans would equal 250 percent of an employer’s average monthly payroll. The maximum loan amount would be $10 million.
    • Covered payroll costs include salary, wages, and payment of cash tips (up to an annual rate of pay of $100,000); employee group health care benefits, including insurance premiums; retirement contributions; and covered leave.
    • The cost of participation in the program would be reduced for both borrowers and lenders by providing fee waivers, an automatic deferment of payments for one year, and no prepayment penalties.
    • Loans would be available immediately through more than 800 existing SBA-certified lenders, including banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions, and SBA would be required to streamline the process to bring additional lenders into the program.
    • The Treasury Secretary would be authorized to expedite the addition of new lenders and make further enhancements to quickly expedite delivery of capital to small employers.
    • The maximum loan amount for SBA Express loans would be increased from $350,000 to $1 million. Express loans provide borrowers with revolving lines of credit for working capital purposes.
  • Entrepreneurial Assistance
    • The bill would provide $265 million for grants to SBA resource partners, including Small Business Development Centers and Women’s Business Centers, to offer counseling, training, and related assistance to small businesses affected by COVID-19.
    • $10 million would be provided for the Minority Business Development Agency to provide these services through Minority Business Centers and Minority Chambers of Commerce.
  • Emergency EIDL Grants
    • The bill would expand eligibility for entities suffering economic harm due to COVID-19 to access SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), while also giving SBA more flexibility to process and disperse small dollar loans.
    • The bill would allow businesses that apply for an EIDL expedited access to capital through an Emergency Grant—an advance of $10,000 within three days to maintain payroll, provide paid sick leave, and to service other debt obligations.
    • $10 billion would be provided to support the expanded EIDL program.
  • Small Business Debt Relief
    • The bill would require SBA to pay all principal, interest, and fees on all existing SBA loan products, including 7(a), Community Advantage, 504, and Microloan programs, for six months to provide relief to small businesses negatively affected by COVID-19.
    • $17 billion would be provided to implement this section.

Let us know if you have any questions regarding today’s developments. We will continue to keep you up to date regularly.

Today Congress reached agreement on a COVID-19 relief bill, which likely will be placed into law within the next 48 hours.

Included in this bill will be $350 billion of relief for small businesses. The best information that we have is that small businesses will be eligible to apply for a 7a SBA loan through their bank that will be 90% guaranteed by the government. The goal is to turn around these loans in days. This loan is to cover payroll and other costs specific to the statute. There is a forgivable portion of the loan that will be triggered under specific conditions, but we do not know many specifics at this time. Please stand by and reply to this email with a simple “Yes, I would like to engage WhippleWood in helping me with the SBA 7a loan” if you are going to need help.

We do not know our exact process yet, but we expect to ask for a retainer to help clients with the loan. As we have hundreds of small business clients, our plan is to help every one of our clients as needed. We expect we will ramp up quickly and become experts on this process within a few days. We expect the fees for this service to be a minimum of $3,500.

Alternately, you can work with your bank directly and get the loan on your own. We can provide you tax return information and financials through our portal and will have our firm coordinators help you with access if you have trouble. Please call our main line (303-989-7600) to request help.

At a minimum, you will need your latest personal and business financials statements and tax returns along with historical information. We are here to help you in any way we can, so please let us know what we can do for you.