UPDATE FROM DECEMBER 3, 2020

Dear Aquesta PPP Clients:

Last week, a federal court ordered the Small Business Administration (SBA) to release data on PPP recipients.  The court order was in response to a lawsuit against the SBA under the Freedom of Information Act.  Banks had no role of any kind in the suit or now the subsequent release of information by the SBA.

Yesterday the SBA released PPP recipient information.  Today we have been informed that certain “consultants” and “businesses” are now using this released information to directly contact the PPP recipients to offer their services.  Most troubling is that at times they will use a bank’s name implying there is some kind of relationship.

Please be advised that Aquesta is not working with consulting  firms or business interests relating to PPP.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact your Aquesta representative directly.

Thank you and best regards,

 

Jim Engel

CEO & President

 

 

UPDATE FROM NOVEMBER 20, 2020

Good afternoon Aquesta PPP Borrowers with Loans $50,000 or less.

This email contains information for you to access our PPP Forgiveness Portal and to supply information required for forgiveness by the SBA of your PPP loan.  We appreciate your patience in this process as the government enhanced the forgiveness process for borrowers within your PPP Loan Amount.

The link below is the SBA instructions on how to complete the required Form 3508S, including required documentation.  Please check your email for a link specific to you, that will allow you to access our software to electronically to complete Form 3508S for submission to us (Aquesta) for our review.


SBA Form 3508S Borrowers Instructions (you may want to print this for reference)
 
https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/2020-10/PPP%20Loan%20Forgiveness%20Application%20Form%203508S%20Instructions-508.pdf
 

Key tips for navigating the PPP Forgiveness Application Link
 

  • You will need to create a PIN # at the first launch of the link.  This PIN will allow you to forward the link to another person in your company, if necessary to assist with completing the document, provided you provided them with the PIN you just established.
  • Validate your eligibility to use this simplified Form by selecting the box which is located at the top of the application.  Once validated, as you scroll down you will see your ability to qualify and use/click on the form 3508S.  Basically, you are validating your PPP Loan received was $50,000 or less.  Key Tip .. please hit the blue save button at the end of every section in the application.
  • Once you do this you will be prompted to complete the following fields
    • Number of Employees at time of PPP Application
    • Number of Employees at time of PPP Forgiveness
    • Insert your calculated Forgiveness Amount
      • There is a numeric field that you insert.  If you feel you qualify for 100% forgiveness then you merely insert the same figure as your loan amount
    • Then you upload you supporting documents to justify the figure you just inserted in the Supporting Documents Section
      • Please see the blue question mark at the top of this Supporting Document Section that details the acceptable types of documents (as well as the instructions in the first hyperlink from the SBA)
    • Once Documents are uploaded, you select the person who is going to sign the Forgiveness Application on behalf of the Company and click “Submit & Send Email for Signature”
    • That’s it …. One tip .. all documents must be uploaded before signature … once you esign the application, it becomes “locked down” from edits as its interpreted as your application is 100% complete
  • What happens next
    • Our team will do a brief cursory review but forward these applications to the SBA for processing (we technically have a 60 day window to do this, but we feel given the streamlined process that we will be well under that timing window)
    • The SBA then has 90 days upon receipt from us to review / pay the forgiveness figure
    • Once done, you will be notified by our lender and sent a letter from us that the SBA has provided documentation your forgiveness
    • If the loan is 100% forgiven, all is done.  However if you took out an EIDL Loan in conjunction with your PPP Loan, the SBA will deduct that EIDL advance from your PPP forgiveness proceeds.
      • If you did get an EIDL Loan, we will then recontact you and see how you want to take care of the unforgiven PPP loan balance (net of EIDL repayment), pay in full or amortize over remaining life of the loan


We know 2020 has been a year none of us expected.  That said, we appreciate the opportunity to be your partner during this crisis and look forward to assisting you reach forgiveness.  Most importantly we look forward to helping your business grow and prosper in 2021 and beyond.  Stay Safe!

Rick Eveson
EVP  – Chief Operations & Compliance Officer

 

 

 

UPDATE FROM OCTOBER 9, 2020

Hello Aquesta PPP Clients,

The following is an update relating to your PPP loan with Aquesta.  After you review this information, you may direct questions to a dedicated inbox:  [email protected].

UPDATE # 1Your 1st Required Payment on your PPP Loan has been moved well into 2021.

Please see most recent Q&A question on this link updated yesterday (go to Last Page – 18 and Question 52) ( https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/Paycheck-Protection-Program-Frequently-Asked-Questions.pdf

Original PPP legislation required first payments to be due in Month 7 after funding.  Subsequent legislation (enacted after you closed your loan) extended the loan forgiveness application deadline for up to 10 months from the end of your “coverage period” (aka – the 8 week or 24 week period you choose at your discretion) and does not allow for payments to come due until that period passes (unless you submit earlier and your loan is not fully forgiven).  Therefore, PPP loans closed in April 2020 now have their required first payment in November 2021 and loans closed in May 2020 now have their first payments due in December 2021.  If for some reason, you do not qualify for 100% forgiveness, the forgiveness funds awarded, will be applied against your outstanding loan balance, and the remaining unforgiven balance will be amortized over the remaining term of your loan.

UPDATE #2For PPP Loan Applicants with Loans < $50,000, SBA announces on October 8th an expedited forgiveness process and shortened / simplified application. 

 The good news is that the SBA issued new guidance last night that will greatly simplify the application process for PPP loans less than $50,000.  This includes a simplified application form.  We are updating our systems as quickly as possible to accommodate this new process and application.  We will notify you as soon as we are ready to proceed.

 UPDATE #3 - No Legislation has Been Enacted for loans greater than $50,000 but less than $150,000. 

Legislation for expedited forgiveness for loans from $50,000 to $150,000 have not yet been passed by Congress.  Commentators now believe this will not occur until after the November elections.   We believe that there will be wide support for passage but there is no guarantee.  The current documentation requirements to validate your expenses and obtain loan forgiveness are arduous.  If your loan is in this mid-size category, we strongly advise patience and for you to contact your representative to advocate for a streamlined process.  With a bit of luck in getting legislation enacted, you will find your workload to be greatly diminished.  As noted in Update #1 above, the expanded time prior to first payment due dates allows additional time for Congress to enact expedited PPP forgiveness legislation.

UPDATE #4As of this writing we have received no forgiveness funds back from the SBA for PPP Forgiveness applications submitted for their review.

We submitted our first PPP forgiveness applications to the SBA on August 25th.  As of today, the SBA indicates all such applications are “pending.”   In short, the SBA is still working to finalize their internal processes, so rushing to submit your application is unlikely to accelerate the final approval.   

We appreciate being your financial partner, stay safe!

Rick Eveson
EVP  – Chief Operations & Compliance Officer

 

 

UPDATE FROM SEPTEMBER 9, 2020

Good afternoon Aquesta PPP Clients,

First and foremost, I hope all are safe and well and you enjoyed your Labor Day weekend.  As a follow-up to our PPP Borrowers with Loans <$150,000, I wanted to share the following two pieces of information, as to why you haven’t received your PPP Forgiveness Links yet and also to reinforce what is new for many borrowers the extended deferral/repayment start timelines. 

As background, we were one of the first bank’s to market and many PPP loans closed in April & May 2020, prior to these legislative changes.  All those loans were documented in accordance with terms at that time with 6 months of deferred payments by the SBA.  As you can see in the link below from the SBA website, that has now been extended to 10 months from the end of the covered period (8 weeks or 24 weeks – your discretion).  As such we will be updating payment terms for any impacted loans to move from 6 months to 10 months accordingly.  What that means is there is still significant time to file for your loan forgiveness.

SBA LINK on deferral extension to 10 months

https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/2020-08/PPP%20Loan%20Forgiveness%20FAQs%208-4-20.pdf

3. Question: If a borrower submits a timely loan forgiveness application, does the borrower have to make any payments on its loan prior to SBA remitting the forgiveness amount, if any?

Answer: As long as a borrower submits its loan forgiveness application within ten months of the completion of the Covered Period (as defined below), the borrower is not As of August 4, 2020 required to make any payments until the forgiveness amount is remitted to the lender by SBA.

Furthermore, as we’ve discussed in prior communications, the second half of this email quotes recent articles in Newsday dated August 25th and Texas Insider dated September 2nd, that both reference the pending legislation in Congress for PPP recipients with Loans < $150,000.  This pending legislation is the reason along with the extended deferral period referenced above, that we have not launched those links as of yet to borrowers with PPP loans < $150,000.  As soon as we know, we promise, we will communicate the appropriate action based on most current legislation.

NEWSDAY ARTICLE dated August 25th

Quoting from Newsday article … “Many recipients of Paycheck Protection Program loans are holding off on seeking loan forgiveness in hopes Washington will make the application process easier or automatically convert the smallest loans to grants.  Banks, credit unions and other private lenders who made the PPP loans are urging borrowers to adopt a wait-and-see approach. Borrowers aren’t facing a tight deadline and won’t incur interest if they delay in submitting the forgiveness application, the lenders said.  The U.S. Small Business Administration, which oversees the PPP, began accepting applications on Aug. 10.  Proposals in Congress would remove the forgiveness application requirement for small businesses and nonprofits with loans under $150,000, which is most borrowers. Instead, borrowers would “attest” to their good-faith effort to comply with the loan rules, notably using at least 60% of the money for payroll expenses. The SBA could review and audit the attestation to “ensure against fraud,” one Senate bill reads.”

 TEXAS INSIDER ARTICLE dated Sept 2, 2020

Texas Insider Report: AUSTIN, Texas – (HOUSTON, Texas) – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is one of 30 of his Senate colleagues to cosponsor the bipartisan Paycheck Protection Small Business Forgiveness Act, legislation that would streamline forgiveness for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans of $150,000 or less if the borrower submits a simple, one-page attestation form to the lender.

Approximately 4.2 million PPP loans of $150,000 or less account for 85 percent of all PPP approved loans but only 26 percent of the PPP funds delivered. The bill is endorsed by over 200 trade groups and associations, earning the support of small business groups like the National Federation of Independent Business, local and national lending associations representing credit unions and bankers, and labor groups like the Independent Electrical Contractors

We know many of you with loans under $150,000 want to press forward and apply and we respect and understand your position.  However, if this legislation passes, as you can see above, the amount of paperwork and complexity for you and frankly us will be greatly reduced.   As we discussed, we already have forgiveness links out to a certain portion of PPP clients (those with PPP loans > $150,000) and are in the midst of confirming numbers and documents therein.  What we are learning, given our role as the conduit between your forgiveness application and supplemental information submission and then packaging that up to the SBA for subsequent forgiveness, is if there is any glimmer of reduced documentation for a large majority of our applicants, then we want to allow time for that legislation to pass.  

Once again, thanks for partnering with Aquesta Bank for your financing needs.

Rick Eveson
EVP  – Chief Operations & Compliance Officer

 

 

UPDATE: FROM JULY 31,2020

Good afternoon.  I have had the privilege this week to speak with a number of Aquesta PPP forgiveness clients in our test group and am very encouraged to hear their feedback on their Aquesta PPP experience, their positive feedback of using our PPP Forgiveness link, and the wonderful stories from new clients to the Aquesta family and how they have really felt a sea change in their banking rapport based on how Aquesta services clients versus their former banking provider.  On behalf of our team, we thank you for the ability to partner with your financing needs.

Now onto current updates for our Aquesta PPP clients with loans < 150,000.

The NCBA (North Carolina Bankers Association) and the ABA (American Bankers Association) and many other state bankers associations are expressing our support for H.R. 7777, the House companion bill to S. 4117, the Paycheck Protection Small Business Protection Act. Both bills provide streamlined forgiveness for PPP loans under $150,000 and include hold harmless language that the banking industry has sought since the launch of the PPP.  The letter was delivered to House Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader McCarthy earlier today. Congressmen Budd and Bishop are original co-sponsors of H.R. 7777.

 

It is due to this pending legislation, that we have delayed circulating PPP Forgiveness links to clients with loans < $150,000.  We believe if this passes, the entries and supplement paperwork that would be required by the rules today by PPP loan recipients (even if using the EZ form) would be instantly reduced.  Many of you are anxious to apply for forgiveness and we can appreciate that, that said we also want to ensure the most streamlined and less invasive process allowable by the government for both you and the Bank and avoid upfront frivolous work if this legislation passes. 

 

Please note, the Bank is unable to forward forgiveness figures to the SBA until August 10th based on most recent communication, so this short term delay has no impact as it relates to providing forgiveness figures to the government.  Also, please don’t confuse the end of the 8 week covered period (if you are opting for that increment versus the 24 week period), to be some sort of deadline for filing for forgiveness.  Per information listed on www.treasury.gov/cares website, PPP recipients have up to 10 months from the end of your covered period to apply for forgiveness, granted though many won’t take nor want to wait that long to apply.  Lastly, if you opt to go for the 24 week covered period in lieu of the 8 week period, you can apply for forgiveness once you have exhausted all funds with allowable forgiveness expenses.  Better said, you don’t have to wait till the end of the 24 week period before submitting your forgiveness application.  

We will share more updates as applicable and we appreciate everyone’s understanding as we navigate through this PPP process together.

 

Rick Eveson
EVP  – Chief Operations & Compliance Officer

Borrower Job Aid (Checklist) - Forgiveness 

STEPS To Complete Forgiveness Application - Borrower:

  1. Click on the Client Portal Link provided to you by your lender
  2. Create a PIN that you will need to use in the future to access your forgiveness application
    1. This pin will need to be between 6-12 characters. It can include numbers, letters, and special characters
  3.  HINT: If you would like to find more information about any fields in the app, utilize the tool tip icon by                   clicking directly on the available question mark icon beside the corresponding field.
  4. (Optional) Click CHECK YOUR EZ FORM ELIGIBILITY
    1. Check the box beside any of the eligibility options that correspond to your application
    2. Click Save and Close
    3. In the Checkbox beside Use EZ Form: check the box next to Yes (if eligible): This will adjust the form.
  5. Complete the Business Information Section
    1. Verify the information in the gray-ed out fields. If anything needs to be corrected, contact your lender to update.
    2. Select Yes or No if you would like to provide demographic information about your principals  (voluntary)
      1. If Yes is selected, a new section will open that will allow you to identify for each principal
    3. Under Employment Information answer the required fields.
    4. If the loan was disbursed before 6/5, chose which duration you would like to use for your cover period (8 weeks or 24 weeks). Loans disbursed after 6/5 will default to 24 weeks.
    5. In the Payroll Information section select the frequency with which payroll is paid to employees
    6. Select Yes or No if you are using an Alternative Payroll Covered Period
      1. If Yes is selected, enter the day of the first pay period following the PPP Loan Disbursement Date on the page that appears
  6. Complete the Loan Information Section
    1. Enter relevant EIDL information
    2. Check box next to “Check if Borrower (together with affiliates, if applicable) received PPP Loans in excess of 2 Million” (if applicable)
  7. Complete Employee Compensation (3508EZ Only)
    1. Enter relevant employee compensation information
    2. Upload Documents
      1. Click the upload documents button
      2. Check the boxes beside relate field you would like to relate to each document to
      3. Drag and drop file or click to upload
      4. Click upload at the bottom of the page
      5. Repeat this process for each document
  8. Complete Schedule A (3508 Only)
    1. Option (1) Download the Excel Worksheet
    2. Fill out and Upload Excel Worksheet based using instructions provided on worksheet
    3. Option (2) If calculations have already been made, numbers can be plugged directly into the corresponding fields without the need for the excel sheet
    4. Upload Documents
      1. Click the upload documents button
      2. Check the boxes beside related field you would like to relate each document to
      3. Drag and drop file or click to upload
      4. Click upload at the bottom of the page
      5. Repeat this process for each document
  9. Complete Owner Compensation Section (if Applicable)
    1. Enter 2019 and Amount Paid
    2. Click the Upload Documents button if applicable
  10. Complete the FTE Reductions Section (3508 Only)
    1. Review information uploaded from the Schedule A worksheet
    2. Upload Relevant Documents
  11. Complete Nonpayroll Costs Section
    1. Enter any relevant nonpayroll line items in the table
    2. Upload any relevant documentation by clicking the upload documents button
  12. Review Calculate Forgiveness Section
  13. Submit
    1. Select an Authorized representative of Borrower
    2. Select from individuals related to the application on the related people tab
    3. Use the create new person tab to add an authorized signer that is not already related to the relationship through an application
    4. Verify or enter the email of the authorized signer in the email box
    5. After information is verified hit the Submit or Submit and (if applicable) Send Email for Esignature button, hit Confirm and Send for Esignature
    6. If prompted, review and complete any of the missing required fields
  14. Esign 3508 document through received signature request email

 

UPDATE FROM JULY 17, 2020

Dear Aquesta PPP Loan Clients,

As conveyed in earlier communication, the Bank is getting ready to begin the PPP (Payroll Protection Program) Forgiveness Application Process.  Though there is current pending legislation in Congress regarding a potential expedited forgiveness for PPP loans < $150,000, we are going to launch to a test group our links to the forgiveness application mid next week to ensure functionality of all systems before franchise wide launch to all PPP loan recipients.

Your lender will be contacting you directly if you are in the “test group” next week that will be receiving the link.  With that link, you will also be receiving detailed instructions on how to navigate the link once received and how to complete the application as well as upload supporting documentation.  Once testing to this group is complete, we will send out another email via this channel to make the remainder of clients aware of the application launch date franchise wide.

We appreciate everyone’s patience for this forgiveness application process to get finalized.  As the earlier communication stated, and still as of the typing of this note to you, we are still waiting finalization from the SBA on how they want approved forgiveness dollars communicated, however we are going to launch this application process in hopes that said finalization happens in the very near future.  If you have any questions in the interim, please email us at [email protected]

Thanks for your business and be safe

Rick Eveson
EVP  – Chief Operations & Compliance Officer

 

UPDATE FROM JUNE 24, 2020

Dear Aquesta Payroll Protection Program Client:

 

First, THANK YOU for partnering with Aquesta Bank for your financing needs during these historic times.  Our team has taken great pride in helping businesses with financial assistance provided by the PPP program.  Aquesta Bank ranked #1 in NC for PPP Loan Dollars Lent for Banks with assets of $5Billion dollars or less.  This resulted in helping over 18,000 local families by providing over $146 Million in loans during the PPP process.

Loan Forgiveness Rules and Process:

There have been many changes initiated by Congress to the PPP and its Forgiveness provisions potentially from the date that you closed your loan.  It is recommended that you always review, www.treasury.gov/cares then scroll down a little to “Assistance for Small Business” Learn More icon on right side of the landing page for the most current information on the PPP program.   We have highlighted some important recent changes below. 

 

  • For Forgiveness Calculations, 60% of PPP Loan Proceeds shall be used towards Payroll costs (Previously 75%)
  • Covered Period for Loan Forgiveness Expenses/calculations extended to 24 weeks (Previously 8 weeks) from date of PPP funding.
  • Creation of a Shortened Loan Forgiveness application– 3508EZ (much smaller than original forgiveness application – Form 3508), however it is only applicable to certain borrowers based on activity during the forgiveness period
    • The Borrower is a self-employed individual, independent contractor, or sole proprietor who had no employees at the time of the PPP loan application and did not include any employee salaries in the computation of average monthly payroll in the Borrower Application Form
    • The Borrower did not reduce annual salary or hourly wages of any employee by more than 25 percent during the Covered Period or the Alternative Payroll Covered Period (as defined below) compared to the period between January 1, 2020 and March 31, 2020 (for purposes of this statement, “employees” means only those employees that did not receive, during any single period during 2019, wages or salary at an annualized rate of pay in an amount more than $100,000); AND  The Borrower did not reduce the number of employees or the average paid hours of employees between January 1, 2020 and the end of the Covered Period. (Ignore reductions that arose from an inability to rehire individuals who were employees on February 15, 2020 if the Borrower was unable to hire similarly qualified employees for unfilled positions on or before December 31, 2020.  Also ignore reductions in an employee’s hours that the Borrower offered to restore and the employee refused.  See 85 FR 33004, 33007 (June 1, 2020) for more details.
    • The Borrower did not reduce annual salary or hourly wages of any employee by more than 25 percent during the Covered Period or the Alternative Payroll Covered Period (as defined below) compared to the period between January 1, 2020 and March 31, 2020 (for purposes of this statement, “employees” means only those employees that did not receive, during any single period during 2019, wages or salary at an annualized rate of pay in an amount more than $100,000); AND The Borrower was unable to operate during the Covered Period at the same level of business activity as before February 15, 2020, due to compliance with requirements established or guidance issued between March 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020 by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, related to the maintenance of standards of sanitation, social distancing, or any other work or customer safety requirement related to COVID-19

 

Again, for details and rules for all situations, please refer to the government website: www.treasury.gov/cares

 

“How is Aquesta Bank going to process my PPP Forgiveness Application?”

 

Answer – We have partnered with Abrigo / Sageworks, a nationally recognized software company to help automate the forgiveness process.  Given many of the recent changes to PPP legislation referenced above, we are updating this software to ensure the latest governmental content before launching Foregiveness applications to all PPP loan recipients.  You will be receiving an email likely in Mid-July with links to upload the required forgiveness documentation as well as complete fields to assist with your forgiveness application.

 

“What can I do until Aquesta sends me the link for the Forgiveness Application?”

 

Answer – Depending on the timeframe you are opting to use in your forgiveness period (again recently changed to up to 24 weeks from date of funding), begin pulling together your records.  Again you are highly recommended to review www.treasury.gov/cares as shown above for the documentation the government is requiring all borrowers to gather.  Aquesta Bank is merely the aggregator of items required by the Government under this program.  You will have the primary responsibility to obtain documentation and to provide the appropriate accurate information.  

 

“How long till I know about what portion of my loan is forgiven?”

 

Answer - The lender has 60 days from receipt of a complete application to issue a decision to SBA. If the lender determines that the borrower is entitled to forgiveness of some or all of the amount applied for under the statute and applicable regulations, the lender must request payment from SBA at the time the lender issues its decision to SBA. SBA will, subject to any SBA review of the loan or loan application, remit the appropriate forgiveness amount to the lender, plus any interest accrued through the date of payment, not later than 90 days after the lender issues its decision to SBA.  We will notify you when we reach a determination and when the SBA remits the forgiveness amount to us. 

 

We look forward to a smooth forgiveness process, similar to the one you received when getting your initial PPP loan processed.  Remember, we are not the biggest Bank in the market, but we pride ourselves on service.  Please reach out to your lender with any questions or we have set up an email for questions to be sent to [email protected] and we will respond as soon as possible.

 

It is a pleasure to serve your financial needs.

 

Thank You for Your Business

 

Rick Eveson
EVP  – Chief Operations & Compliance Officer