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