The Small Business Administration today clarified that its Paycheck Protection Program direct forgiveness portal remains optional for lenders and borrowers, although SBA encouraged lenders to opt-in to the program, which it said has accepted more than 600,000 applications in under a month.
SBA sent a message clarifying a letter sent earlier today through its lender portal that provoked confusion among industry participants. In particular, the letter seemed to say that lenders would need to opt into direct forgiveness to avoid audits by SBA’s Office of Credit Risk Management.
The follow-up message appeared to clarify that audits would focus on instances in which lenders may not yet be accepting forgiveness applications for 2021 PPP borrowers or in which lenders are not actively reaching out to 2021 borrowers to invite them to apply. “Given that lenders who opt-in to direct forgiveness are providing opportunities for their 2021 borrowers to submit for forgiveness, and SBA is conducting ongoing outreach, action by the Office of Credit Risk Management on this particular issue is not applicable.”