As part of the national effort to combat the devastating economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CARES Act was signed into law on March 26, 2020. The Act authorized the creation of the $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a loan program meant to provide loans to businesses impacted by the pandemic.
Sadly, this program has been beset with problems from the start. Small businesses seeking relief have had to deal with a confusing application process, banks that have been unwilling to accept loan applications from “new” customers, delays in the disbursal of loan funds, and a creaky SBA computer system.
If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of waiting to learn about the status of your PPP loan application, here’s what you can do.
3 Ways To Check Your PPP Loan Status
Contact Your Bank
Each PPP lender will have a somewhat different process for checking the status of your loan application. We can’t detail this process for every PPP lender, but we can highlight the example provided by Bank Of America. BofA has published an FAQ page relating to PPP loan-related questions from its members.
BofA’s PPP FAQ page details the process of applying for a PPP loan through the bank, but unfortunately, the bank’s instructions as to how to check the status of your application boils down to this: Check your email. Specifically, here’s what BofA advises you to do (I’ve bolded the steps relating to how to check your application’s status):
If youâre an eligible client who plans to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program loan, you should take the following steps:
1. You must sign in with your Small Business Online Banking account or sign into the CashProÂ® service. If you do not currently have a Business Online Banking account online, or use our CashPro service, you must enroll in Small Business Online Banking as soon as possible
2. After completing the application process, you will receive online confirmation of the submission
3. Bank of America will process your application as soon as possible
4. We will contact you with next steps and to collect any required documents. Do not proactively deliver or send documents to our Financial Centers or banking teams
5. You will be notified of the status of your loan application through email communications
6. Information about the application status will NOT be available through our Financial Centers or Contact Centers due to the nature of this loan process and the steps involved
Likewise, PNC Bank’s PPP page has the following information posted:
We will be contacting customers via email as soon as possible if we were unable to process and register their loan with the SBA. PNC customers with Business Banking accounts can check their application status online. Corporate and Institutional clients are contacted by their relationship manager if their loan is registered and approved.
Please note that Information about your application status will NOT be available through our branches or Care Centers â due to the nature of this loan process and the steps involved.
The similarity between the statements given by these two banks is indicative of the fact that asking your bank about the status of your application through normal processes such as contacting your branch directly or contacting a customer care center mayÂ not work due to the volume of applications being processed. Instead, you’ll have to follow the specific instructions of your bank concerning PPP loan applications. Be careful to note if your bank provides a way to check your application status online, as PNC bank does.
Unfortunately, I’ve seen reports from business owners who have not been provided any means of checking on the status of their PPP loan application by their bank. If this happens to you, keep trying to contact your bank about the matter through any channel your bank provides. You may eventually find someone who can point you in the right direction.
Check The SBA.com Website
SBA.com is a private website (it isn’t affiliated with the SBA itself; SBA.gov is the SBA’s official website, but be warned that it does not provide a way to check your PPP loan application status online) that connects would-be borrowers to a large marketplace of PPP lenders. If you submitted your PPP loan request through SBA.com, there’s a process by which you can check the status of your request. On the subject of how you can check the status of your completed application, here is what SBA.com says on the matter:
After you submitted your PPP Loan request through SBA.comÂ®, you should have completed your application with our partner Lendio through their application portal. You should have received an email from Lendio with your account details to access the application portal and check your application status. If you canât find this email, you can access your application portal by resetting your password using the email address from your loan request and then logging in. After you reset your password, your login information for the portal will be the same whether you are logging into the portal through SBA.com or through Lendio.com. Once logged in to the portal, you can access Lendioâs live chat option to ask about your application status. You can also call Lendio directly at: (855) 853-6346.
Note that this option for checking your loan application status is only available if you submitted your PPP loan request through SBA.com.
Contact The SBA Directly
Given the extraordinary volume of SBA loan requests and the problems the SBA has had with meeting business demand for emergency assistance, this option may not bear fruit immediately. Simply put, the institutional capacity of the SBA to effectively respond to a disaster of this magnitude has been inadequate — and that’s putting it charitably. Nonetheless, I’ve seen a few reports from business owners who were able to get meaningful information from an SBA representative concerning the status of their PPP loan application.
Try contacting your local SBA district office for information on the status of your application. You can also try emailing the SBA at [email protected] for information.
What You’ll Need To Check Your Status
The information you’ll need to check the status of your PPP loan application will depend on how you applied for the loan in the first place. If you applied through SBA.com, you’ll need to enter your login information for the application portal. You should also have whatever information you provided in the application process on hand when you check on the status of your application in case a representative asks for it.
If you applied for a PPP loan directly from your bank or other lender, you’ll need to follow the specific steps listed by your lender in order to check your application status. As a rule of thumb, when checking on your application status through your bank or another lender, you should have whatever information you provided on your original application on hand in case your lender asks for it again. You’ll also likely need to provide your login information to access the online portal that you used to submit your application.
As we all try to navigate our way through this unprecedented crisis, business owners seeking relief have been dealing with the additional stress of finding that, in short, nothing is working as intended.
If you’ve applied for a PPP loan and have tried checking the status of your application, we’d love to hear about your experience, whether successful or not. Please leave us a comment and tell us all about it!
Check out Merchant Maverickâs COVID-19 hub for more resources, guides, and advice to help your business survive this disaster.
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