The Small Business Administration just released their interim final ruling on the paycheck protection program. This document answers many of the questions that we as advisors have been asking. The CARES Act established the structure for the SBA and did not fill in any of the mechanics or details. Instead, it allowed for the SBA to determine that themselves and release guidance to the banks who will be funding this new SBA program.
The big questions that this document answers:
- What qualifies as “payroll costs?”
Payroll costs consist of compensation to employees (whose principal place of residence is the United States) in the form of salary, wages, commissions, or similar compensation; cash tips or the equivalent (based on employer records of past tips or, in the absence of such records, a reasonable, good-faith employer estimate of such tips); payment for vacation, parental, family, medical, or sick leave; allowance for separation or dismissal; payment for the provision of employee benefits consisting of group health care coverage, including insurance premiums, and retirement; payment of state and local taxes assessed on compensation of employees; and for an independent contractor or sole proprietor, wage, commissions, income, or net earnings from self-employment or similar compensation.
- Do independent contractors count as employees for purposes of PPP loan calculations?
No, independent contractors have the ability to apply for a PPP loan on their own so they do not count for purposes of a borrower’s PPP loan calculation.
- What is the interest rate on a PPP loan?
The interest rate will be 100 basis points or one percent.
The Administrator, in consultation with the Secretary, determined that a one percent interest rate is appropriate. First, it provides low cost funds to borrowers to meet eligible payroll costs and other eligible expenses during this temporary period of economic dislocation caused by the coronavirus. Second, for lenders, the 100 basis points offers an attractive interest rate relative to the cost of funding for comparable maturities. For example, the FDIC’s weekly national average rate for a 24-month CD deposit product for the week of March 30, 2020 is 42 basis points for non-jumbo and 44 basis points for jumbo (https://www.fdic.gov/regulations/resources/rates/). Third, the interest rate is higher than the yield on Treasury securities of comparable maturity. For example, the yield on the Treasury two-year note is approximately 23 basis points. This higher yield combined with the fact that the loans are 100 percent guaranteed by the SBA and the fact that lenders will receive a substantial processing fee from the SBA provide ample inducement for lenders to participate in the PPP.
- What will be the maturity date on a PPP loan?
The maturity is two years. While the Act provides that a loan will have a maximum maturity of up to ten years from the date the borrower applies for loan forgiveness (described below), the Administrator, in consultation with the Secretary, determined that a two year loan term is sufficient in light of the temporary economic dislocations caused by the coronavirus. Specifically, the considerable economic disruption caused by the coronavirus is expected to abate well before the two year maturity date such that borrowers will be able to re- commence business operations and pay off any outstanding balances on their PPP loans.
- Is the PPP “first-come, first-served?”
You can read the full text of the interim final ruling (IFR) here.