On June 5, President Donald Trump signed H.R. 7010, the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020, bringing to fruition a quick, effective WBA advocacy campaign. 

The PPP Flexibility Act makes several changes to the program to the benefit of small businesses. WBA supported these changes on behalf of our member banks and their business clients. Further guidance and clarification from SBA and Treasury will be forthcoming, but the legislation signed today accomplishes several positive changes: 

  • Extend from eight to 24 weeks the amount of time borrowers have to spend PPP funds 
  • Lower the amount that must be spent on payroll costs from 75% to 60% 
  • Remove the limits on loan forgiveness for businesses that were unable to rehire employees, hire new employees, or return to the same level of business activity as before the virus. 
  • Extend the June 30 rehiring deadline 
  • Extend the period for when a business can apply for loan forgiveness, from within six months to within 10 months of the last day of the covered period, before it must start making interest and principal payments. 
  • Extend the loan terms for any unforgiven portions that need to be repaid from two years to five years, at 1% interest.* 

Getting these changes across the lawmaking finish line required the dedicated and coordinated efforts of WBA staff, members, and many other groups. To help this bill gain support and traction, WBA joined several other business associations in communicating with federal lawmakers between the bill’s initial introduction in the House on May 25 and its passage today. In that 12-day period, WBA was in nearly constant communication with the Wisconsin Delegation. 

On May 27, WBA sent a request to each of Wisconsin House members asking them to urge their colleagues to support the PPP amendments. “This is critically important to the banking industry and to small businesses across the country, including Wisconsin, in light of the complicated forgiveness application published recently by SBA and Treasury,” wrote WBA President and CEO Rose Oswald Poels. "Small businesses will need significant help from the banking industry and/or their accountants in order to complete this very detailed, complex application. Creating an “EZ” version of the application for loans under $350,000 would meaningfully help borrowers without jeopardizing any audit rights of SBA.” 

WBA also signed on to a letter sent to Capitol Hill on May 27 with other state bankers associations and ICBA urging the entire Congress to consider the much-needed reforms. 

The PPP Flexibility Act passed the House on May 28 and moved on to the Senate. On June 2, WBA asked all of the Wisconsin House Delegates to sign on to a letter to the Senate urging swift passage of the bill. In addition to Representative Mark Pocan, Reps. Mike Gallagher, Glenn Grothman, Ron Kind, Gwen Moore, Jim Sensenbrenner, Bryan Steil, and Tom Tiffany were asked to sign on to a letter to the Senate authored by Reps. Barr (KY) and Hill (AR), and joined by Rep. Horn (OK), requesting a streamlined forgiveness application for PPP loans under $350,000. 

The Senate sent the bill to the president’s desk on June 5, and he immediately signed it into law. 

WBA thanks all the Wisconsin members of Congress for supporting changes to the PPP to make it more flexible for small businesses. 

* Regarding the term extension, it is WBA’s understanding that for PPP loans which have already been documented and closed, in order for the loan term to be extended from the current two years to the new 5-year term, both borrower and lender must agree to the new term. The change of term is not automatic for those PPP loans already closed. 

WBA is also actively lobbying Treasury and SBA to simplify the forgiveness process for PPP loans. Read a recent letter here


Want to learn more about the latest changes to PPP?

Join WBA President and CEO Rose Oswald Poels for the latest free WBA webinar in the Coronavirus Management Series: Review of Latest PPP Forgiveness Changes | Friday, June 12, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. 

This complimentary webinar will provide an update regarding recent PPP Forgiveness changes, and respond to any PPP questions bankers may have. Topics to be covered include: 

  • Program changes contained in new PPP Flexibility Act law 
  • Borrower Forgiveness Application and process, including a checklist for lenders 
  • Rules for sole proprietors/self-employed 
  • Q&A opportunity on PPP 

Did we mention it's free?! Register here