The Small Business Administration ("SBA") made targeted changes to the Paycheck Protection Program ("PPP") to promote access for women-owned and minority-owned businesses and underserved communities.

The announced changes include, among other things, a two-week window (beginning Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 9:00 a.m.) during which only businesses and non-profits with fewer than 20 employees may apply for PPP relief. Additionally, the SBA stated that by the first week of March it will:

  • revise the PPP loan calculation formula for sole proprietors, independent contractors and self-employed individuals who do not have employees;

  • eliminate a restriction that disqualifies businesses with more than 20 percent ownership by an individual who has an arrest or conviction for a non-fraud felony within the previous year;

  • eliminate federal student loan delinquency and default as disqualifiers; and

  • provide guidance ensuring that lawful non-citizen U.S. residents may use Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers to apply for PPP relief.

Commentary

The White House and the SBA highlighted these changes as critical steps that will promote access to small businesses and underserved communities that are less likely to have pre-existing banking relationships. At the same time, they vowed there will be enhanced oversight of these and all PPP loans. President Biden expressly invited any inspector general with jurisdiction over the PPP to closely examine and publicly report on any issues uncovered.