The U.S. Small Business Administration, in consultation with the U.S. Treasury Department, reopened the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan portal last week. The PPP will initially accept first-time PPP loan applications from participating community financial institutions, which include community development financial institutions, minority depository institutions, certified development companies and microloan intermediaries. The agency said the program will be opened to all financial institutions at a date to be announced.

The opening of the SBA loan system is designed to efficiently and effectively implement the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits and Venues Act passed by Congress last month and to ensure increased access to the PPP for minority, underserved, veteran-owned and women-owned small businesses. The SBA also said it is calling upon its lending partners to redouble their efforts to assist eligible borrowers in underserved and disadvantaged communities.

The SBA said it will continue to provide updates on operations and that it plans to dedicate specific times to process and assist the smallest PPP lenders with loan applications from eligible small businesses.

The Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits and Venues Act became law on Dec. 27. The act extends the authority to make PPP loans through March 31 and revises certain PPP requirements. Businesses with interest in the PPP program can find information at the Utah District office website at www.sba.gov/offices/district/ut/salt-lake-city.

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