Jan. 13, 2021–As a new round of Paycheck Protection Program assistance rolls out this week, the U.S. Small Business Administration has taken steps to ensure the second round of the program is accessible to a wider variety of businesses. Among the business types now eligible to apply are 501(c)(6) nonprofit organizations (including business leagues and chambers of commerce), news organizations (print newspaper, radio broadcasters and television stations), seasonal employers and faith-based organizations. The SBA has also said it remains committed to helping underserved small businesses that face potential barriers to accessing capital through traditional lenders. It is looking to community financial institutions like MoFi to ensure that PPP loans reach every person in need of the help, especially first-time applicants, sole proprietors, independent contractors and others that might not be able to obtain one from a bank or credit union.

An end-of-year emergency relief package from the federal government includes $284 billion for the Program, which provides forgivable loans to help businesses keep their workforce employed during COVID-19. Loan funds can be used to cover payroll costs, mortgage interest, rent, utilities and other operations expenses. The loans will be fully forgiven if funds are used to cover eligible expenses.

In the initial round of assistance last year, MoFi provided nearly 1,300 PPP loans to businesses in Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming, with an average loan size of $26,000. Since the program reopened Monday, MoFi President Dave Glaser said it has heard from hundreds of applicants with an average loan request size of just over $20,000.

“From rural chambers of commerce to childcare facilities, restaurants, Main Street businesses and independent contractors, we’ve seen an overwhelming amount of interest from both first- and second-time applicants, a testament to the urgent need for economic relief in our region,” said Glaser. “We’re excited to be working alongside banks and credit unions in our communities to ensure that everyone who needs a PPP loan is able to get one.”

MoFi encourages interested business owners to apply as soon as possible. Applications are being accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. MoFi is providing PPP loans up to $250,000, and businesses must be located in Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, Wyoming or Washington.