Congress to Vote on COVID-19 Relief Bill Tonight

With Congress poised to cast final votes on a $900 billion bipartisan coronavirus relief package later this evening, American Bankers Association staff are currently reviewing the 5,500 page legislative text. Among other things, the bill includes several ABA-backed provisions, including:

  • $284 billion in new funds for the Paycheck Protection Program, including a second draw option for prior PPP borrowers and $15 billion set aside specifically for first and second draws issued by community financial institutions, including community development financial institutions and minority depository institutions
  • $12 billion in targeted emergency investments to help low-income and minority communities, including $9 billion to be used by Treasury to create an Emergency Capital Investment Program to make direct and indirect capital investments in low- and moderate income financial institutions
  • A hold-harmless safe harbor for PPP lenders from enforcement and penalties to include all certifications made by borrowers or applicants connected to initial or second-draw PPP loans
  • A simplified PPP forgiveness process allowing PPP loans of $150,000 or less to be forgiven after the borrower completes a one-page attestation
  • Repeal of a CARES Act provision that required PPP borrowers to deduct the amount of their EIDL advance from their PPP forgiveness amount
  • Enhancements of existing SBA loan programs, including the 7(a), 504 and microloan programs
  • A new round of $600-per-person economic impact payments for eligible recipients
  • An extension of enhanced unemployment insurance
  • An extension until Jan. 1, 2022, of the troubled debt restructuring provisions that were included in the CARES Act
  • A delay of CECL implementation until Jan. 1, 2022

In a statement ahead of the votes this evening, ABA President and CEO Rob Nichols commended lawmakers on the bipartisan effort to draft the long-awaited stimulus bill. “The bipartisan agreement reached by congressional leaders will provide much-needed relief to families, workers, and businesses still struggling from COVID-19,” he said. “Importantly, this agreement contains several ABA-supported provisions that will allow banks to provide additional help to individual and business customers under financial stress from the pandemic.”

ABA is encouraging banks to immediately begin preparing for the large number of EIPs that could be sent via ACH on the first day of processing—which could come as early as this weekend. This effort should include planning to have call center and ACH operations staffing levels ready as well as ordering and moving sufficient cash to meet a surge in ATM and branch withdrawals as EIPs land in customer accounts.