BISMARCK — The North Dakota Department of Commerce held a call with business leaders Thursday, June 18, to provide updated information regarding the Economic Injury Disaster and Paycheck Protection Program loans.

The Payroll Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 was signed into law June 5. It was meant, in large part, to address complaints and confusion with the PPP loan program, designed to help small businesses across the nation during the coronavirus pandemic.

The June 18 call, led in large part by Eric Giltner, senior area manager of the U.S. Small Business Administration in Grand Forks, and SBA District Director Al Haut was meant to guide participants through the application and forgiveness process.

Highlighted changes caused by the PPPFA were significant:

  • Extended maturity date from 2 years to 5 years
  • Extension of covered period from 8 weeks to a maximum of 24 weeks
  • Extension of timeline to rehire employees and good-faith exemptions
  • Mandatory payroll spending reduced from 75% to 60%
  • Extension of loan deferral period
  • Eligibility of employment tax deferral
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“To receive full loan forgiveness,” according to information provided for the call, “a borrower must use at least 60% of the PPP loan for payroll costs, and not more than 40% of the loan forgiveness amount may be attributable to nonpayroll costs. If the borrower utilizes less, the amount of loan forgiveness will be partially forgiven to the percentage they used for payroll costs. Borrowers can use the 24-week period to restore their workforce levels and wages to the pre-pandemic levels required for full forgiveness. This must be done by Dec. 31, a change from the previous deadline of June 30.”

The SBA announced Monday, June 15, that the EIDL and EIDL Advance program portal has been reopened due to need. The portal had been closed because officials assumed enough applications were in the pipeline to exhaust the money, but those funds have not yet been depleted.

The EIDL applications prior to April 15 are now being processed, and newly submitted applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.

“The portal has been reopened,” North Dakota Department of Commerce Commissioner Michelle Kommer said, “and the money is first come, first serve, so time is of the essence.”

Kommer also said if businesses have already applied for an EIDL loan, there’s no need to reapply.

The SBA North Dakota District Office and SBA Resource Partners are also planning webinars for step-by-step training on completion of the PPP loan forgiveness application.

Register for the 2 p.m. June 23 webinar at: https://und.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Qs5hEgnaS16QDIV2qYmaug

Register for the 8:30 a.m. June 24 webinar at: https://und.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_m2gBpIfkQ_ey_FmWmn0dOg

For more information about coronavirus relief, visit www.sba.gov.