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Oriental expands access to PPP loans under new guidelines

Oriental announced it will expand access to loans for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) under the US Small Business Administration’s new guidelines for the Payroll Protection Program (PPP).

Oriental has already awarded some $300 million in loans to more than 3,500 businesses between the first round and so far in the second round of this federal financial relief program, which opened in mid-January.

“We have already awarded more than $47 million and benefited more than 8,000 Puerto Rican employees in this second round of the PPP program that began in January,” said Carlos Comas, vice president of Business Banking at Oriental.

“These businesses play a significant role in Puerto Rico’s economy, so it’s essential to support them in this process. Starting in the first round, we created a digital process so that our clients could apply for PPP loans,” said Comas.

On Feb. 24, the SBA established a 14-day PPP loan application period exclusively for businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 20 employees. This will give lenders and their community partners more time to help smaller businesses apply, the agency said.

The new rules also guarantee larger companies eligible for PPP more time to apply for and receive support before this financial relief program ends on Mar. 31, 2021.

The SBA also announced the following changes, which seek to expand the number of small businesses eligible for the PPP:

  • A revision of the PPP funding formula for sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals will allow them to use the gross income line on Schedule C. The SBA is also setting aside $1 billion for those businesses without employees in low-to-moderate income communities;
  • Fairer access for returning citizens by eliminating the PPP eligibility restriction that did not allow those with a felony within the previous year to apply (however, the restriction on those with an arrest or felony conviction related to financial assistance fraud within the previous five years remains);
  • Allowing those who have struggled to make and are now delinquent on federal student loan payments to apply for the PPP; and,
  • Ensuring access for immigrant small business owners who lawfully reside and pay taxes in the U.S. by clarifying that Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) holders can apply for the PPP.

“At Oriental we’re more than ready to help these small businesses and entrepreneurs and provide them with the support they need at a time when their businesses are affected by circumstances beyond their control, such as the pandemic,” said Comas.

“Our digital tool to complete the application process is available to apply for the financial aid they need. This assistance will allow them to continue operating their businesses and pay their employees’ payroll,” he said.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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