Washington, D.C—U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-Md.) today released an updated COVID-19 relief guide to help small businesses access the loan and grant programs included in the recently enacted $900 billion relief bill. The guide follows the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) announcement that the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will reopen to applications from mission lenders, including community development financial institutions (CDFIs), minority-depository institutions (MDIs), microlenders and certified development companies, for first-time PPP borrowers on Monday, January 11. The mission lenders will begin processing second PPP loan applications on Wednesday, January 13, and the program will open to all participating lenders shortly thereafter.  

The relief bill includes $284 billion for first and second PPP loans, and dedicates funding to ensure the smallest and underbanked borrowers are able to access the program. The set-asides include $15 billion for loans issued by mission-lenders; $15 billion for certain smaller depository institutions, such as credit unions and farm credit institutions; and $40 billion for firms with 10 or fewer employees, or loans up to $250,000 in low-income areas. The bill also expands PPP eligibility for certain nonprofits, as well as local newspapers and broadcasters.

“The reopening of PPP is welcome relief for the countless small businesses that have been devastated and pushed to the brink of closure,” Ranking Member Cardin said. “I am especially pleased that SBA will focus on processing loan applications from the most vulnerable small businesses during the first days of the program. My COVID-19 relief guide will help small businesses navigate the various loan and grant programs available to them as they continue to navigate the pandemic.”

The staggered reopening of PPP is a result of language that Cardin pushed to include in the relief bill directing SBA to prioritize loan applications from Black, Asian, Latino, Native American, and other underserved small business owners, who have been the hardest-hit during the pandemic. The policy will help ensure that vulnerable and underserved small businesses receive adequate access to the program.

The full small business COVID-19 relief guide is available here.