Second round of PPP loans could be processed as soon as Friday

January 14, 2021

The Paycheck Protection Program has returned, and some financial institutions will be able to process loans as soon as Friday.

All banks will be able to process loans for the second round of PPP starting Tuesday, according Kristy Merrill, president of the New Hampshire Bankers Association.

"We expect high participation," Merrill said Thursday during a virtual panel discussion with Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan.

Merrill said that although the first round of PPP was a major effort, she acknowledged that it was also an imperfect process.

"The second round there are some really good changes," she said.

According to Amy Bassett, district director of the New Hampshire Small Business Administration, the $284 billion in funding is aimed at the smallest, most diverse and underserved businesses.

The new funds are available to not only first-time applicants, but also to businesses that borrowed during the first round as well.

"It took a little longer than many of us hoped," Shaheen said.

She described the new COVID-19 relief package as a short-term emergency proposal to get the nation and New Hampshire through the next couple of months until the new Congress and administration can look at a long-term solution to get the economy back on track.

The legislation also expands PPP eligibility for nonprofits, including tourism organizations and local chambers of commerce, and makes critical policy changes to the program to better serve the restaurant and hospitality industries.

To date, nearly 25,000 New Hampshire small businesses and nonprofits have received more than $2.5 billion in PPP assistance, according to a release.

Hassan said the package allows businesses to take advantage of the second round of PPP while also continuing to use the employee retention tax credit under the CARES Act, which encourages businesses to keep employees on the payroll.

Aside from making sure small businesses have the financial assistance necessary to survive, Hassan said that in order to put this pandemic in the rear-view mirror, there must also be a strong public health response.

Officials must understand how Operation Warp Speed is being handled to ensure that everyone is vaccinated, Shaheen said.

John Nyhan of the Hampton Area Chamber of Commerce said he was thrilled that chambers were included in the newest PPP round so that they may continue helping businesses stay alive throughout the pandemic.

When the pandemic hit, Nyhan said his chamber opened its doors to every business in the community, not just its members. It established several new programs to help promote businesses and reassure customers and employees that they were following protocols and safety measures, he said.

He urged both senators to, once the new administration is in place, see what can be done to expand relief funds to states and local governments.

"We need that coronavirus relief fund number two," Nyham said.

By:  Kim Houghton
Source: Union Leader