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Business Loan Program Temporary Changes; Paycheck Protection Program-Additional Revisions to First Interim Final Rule

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

U.S. Small Business Administration.

ACTION:

Interim final rule.

SUMMARY:

On April 2, 2020, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) posted on its website an interim final rule relating to the implementation of sections 1102 and 1106 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act or the Act) (published in the Federal Register on April 15, 2020). Section 1102 of the Act temporarily adds a new product, titled the “Paycheck Protection Program,” to the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA's) 7(a) Loan Program. Subsequently, SBA issued a number of interim final rules implementing the Paycheck Protection Program. This interim final rule revises SBA's interim final rule published in the Federal Register on April 15, 2020 by changing the eligibility requirement related to felony convictions of applicants or owners of the applicant.

DATES:

Effective date: The provisions in this interim final rule are effective June 16, 2020.

Comment date: Comments must be received on or before July 20, 2020.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments, identified by number SBA-2020-0036, through the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

SBA will post all comments on www.regulations.gov. If you wish to submit confidential business information (CBI) as defined in the User Notice at www.regulations.gov, please send an email to ppp-ifr@sba.gov. Highlight the information that you consider to be CBI and explain why you believe SBA should hold this information as confidential. SBA will review the information and make the final determination whether it will publish the information.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

A Call Center Representative at 833-572-0502, or the local SBA Field Office; the list of offices can be found at https://www.sba.gov/​tools/​local-assistance/​districtoffices.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background Information

On March 13, 2020, President Trump declared the ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic of sufficient severity and magnitude to warrant an emergency declaration for all states, territories, and the District of Columbia. With the COVID-19 emergency, many small businesses nationwide are experiencing economic hardship as a direct result of the Federal, State, and local public health measures that are being taken to minimize the public's exposure to the virus. These measures, some of which are government-mandated, have been implemented nationwide and include the closures of restaurants, bars, and gyms. In addition, based on the advice of public health officials, other measures, such as keeping a safe distance from others or even stay-at-home orders, have been implemented, resulting in a dramatic decrease in economic activity as the public avoids malls, retail stores, and other businesses.

On March 27, 2020, the President signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the CARES Act or the Act) (Pub. L. 116-136) to provide emergency assistance and health care response for individuals, families, and businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The Small Business Administration (SBA) received funding and authority through the Act to modify existing loan programs and establish a new loan program to assist small businesses nationwide adversely impacted by the COVID-19 emergency.

Section 1102 of the Act temporarily permits SBA to guarantee 100 percent of 7(a) loans under a new program titled the “Paycheck Protection Program.” Section 1106 of the Act provides for forgiveness of up to the full principal amount of qualifying loans guaranteed under the Paycheck Protection Program.

On April 24, 2020, the President signed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (Pub. L. 116-139), which provided additional funding and authority for the PPP. On June 5, 2020, the President signed the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 (Flexibility Act) (Pub. L. 116-142).

II. Comments and Immediate Effective Date

This interim final rule is effective without advance notice and public comment because section 1114 of the CARES Act authorizes SBA to issue regulations to implement Title I of the Act without regard to notice requirements. In addition, SBA has determined that there is good cause for dispensing with advance public notice and comment on the grounds that that it would be contrary to the public interest. Specifically, advance public notice and comment would defeat the purpose of this interim final rule given that SBA's authority to guarantee PPP loans expires on June 30, 2020. These same reasons provide good cause for SBA to dispense with the 30-day delayed effective date provided in the Administrative Procedure Act. Although this interim final rule is effective on or before date of filing, comments are solicited from interested members of the public on all aspects of the interim final rule, including section III below. These comments must be submitted on or before July 20. 2020. The SBA will consider these comments, comments received on the interim final rule posted on SBA's website April 2, 2020 (the First Interim Final Rule) and published in the Federal Register on April 15, 2020, and the need for making any revisions as a result of these comments.

III. Paycheck Protection Program—Additional Revisions to First Interim Final Rule (85 FR 20811)

Overview

The CARES Act was enacted to provide immediate assistance to individuals, families, and businesses affected by the COVID-19 emergency. Among the provisions contained in the CARES Act are provisions authorizing SBA to temporarily guarantee loans under a new 7(a) loan program titled the “Paycheck Protection Program.” Loans guaranteed under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will be 100 percent guaranteed by SBA, and the full principal amount of the loans may qualify for loan forgiveness. The purpose of this interim final rule is to make changes to the First Interim Final Rule, posted on SBA's website on April 2, 2020, and published in the Federal Register on April 15, 2020 (85 FR 20811). The First Interim Final Rule, as amended, should be interpreted Start Printed Page 36718consistent with the frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding the PPP that are posted on SBA's website [1] and the other interim final rules issued regarding the PPP.[2]

1. Changes to the First Interim Final Rule

Eligibility Requirements

The First Interim Final Rule provided, among other things, that a PPP loan will not be approved if an owner of 20 percent or more of the equity of the applicant has been convicted of a felony within the last five years. After further consideration, the Administrator, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury (the Secretary), has determined that a shorter timeframe for felonies that do not involve fraud, bribery, embezzlement, or a false statement in a loan application or an application for federal financial assistance is more consistent with Congressional intent to provide relief to small businesses and also promotes the important policies underlying the First Step Act of 2018 (Pub. L. 115-391). Therefore, Part III.2.b.iii. of the First Interim Final Rule (85 FR 20811, 20812) is revised to read as follows:

b. Could I be ineligible even if I meet the eligibility requirements in (a) above?

You are ineligible for a PPP loan if, for example:

* * * * *

iii. An owner of 20 percent or more of the equity of the applicant is incarcerated, on probation, on parole; presently subject to an indictment, criminal information, arraignment, or other means by which formal criminal charges are brought in any jurisdiction; or has been convicted of a felony involving fraud, bribery, embezzlement, or a false statement in a loan application or an application for federal financial assistance within the last five years or any other felony within the last year; or

* * * * *

2. Additional Information

SBA may provide further guidance, if needed, through SBA notices which will be posted on SBA's website at www.sba.gov. Questions on the Paycheck Protection Program may be directed to the Lender Relations Specialist in the local SBA Field Office. The local SBA Field Office may be found at https://www.sba.gov/​tools/​local-assistance/​districtoffices.

Compliance With Executive Orders 12866, 12988, 13132, 13563, and 13771, the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. Ch. 35), and the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612)

Executive Orders 12866, 13563, and 13771

This interim final rule is economically significant for the purposes of Executive Orders 12866 and 13563, and is considered a major rule under the Congressional Review Act. SBA, however, is proceeding under the emergency provision at Executive Order 12866 Section 6(a)(3)(D) based on the need to move expeditiously to mitigate the current economic conditions arising from the COVID-19 emergency. This rule's designation under Executive Order 13771 will be informed by public comment.

This rule is necessary to implement Sections 1102 and 1106 of the CARES Act and the Flexibility Act in order to provide economic relief to small businesses nationwide adversely impacted under the COVID-19 Emergency Declaration. We anticipate that this rule will result in substantial benefits to small businesses, their employees, and the communities they serve. However, we lack data to estimate the effects of this rule.

Executive Order 12988

SBA has drafted this rule, to the extent practicable, in accordance with the standards set forth in section 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988, to minimize litigation, eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden. The rule has no preemptive effect but does have a limited retroactive effect consistent with section 3(d) of the Flexibility Act.

Executive Order 13132

SBA has determined that this rule will not have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the National Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various layers of government. Therefore, SBA has determined that this rule has no federalism implications warranting preparation of a federalism assessment.

Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. Chapter 35

SBA has determined that this rule will require modification to the existing PPP information collection that is approved under OMB Control Number 3245-0407 as an emergency request until October 31, 2020. As discussed above, this rule amends the PPP eligibility requirements regarding certain felony charges. As a result of these amendments, conforming changes will be made to Question 6 of Form 2483, Borrower Application Form, and Section H of Form 2484, Lender Application Form. SBA will submit the revisions to these forms to the Office of Management and Budget for approval.

Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA)

The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) generally requires that when an agency issues a proposed rule, or a final rule pursuant to section 553(b) of the APA or another law, the agency must prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis that meets the requirements of the RFA and publish such analysis in the Federal Register. 5 U.S.C. 603, 604. Specifically, the RFA normally requires agencies to describe the impact of a rulemaking on small entities by providing a regulatory impact analysis. Such analysis must address the consideration of regulatory options that would lessen the economic effect of the rule on small entities. The RFA defines a “small entity” as (1) a proprietary firm meeting the size standards of the Small Business Administration (SBA); (2) a nonprofit organization that is not dominant in its field; or (3) a small government jurisdiction with a population of less than 50,000. 5 U.S.C. 601(3)-(6). Except for such small government jurisdictions, neither State nor local governments are “small entities.” Similarly, for purposes of the RFA, individual persons are not small entities.

The requirement to conduct a regulatory impact analysis does not apply if the head of the agency “certifies that the rule will not, if promulgated, have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.” 5 U.S.C. 605(b). The agency must, however, publish the certification in the Federal Register at the time of publication of the rule, “along with a statement providing the factual basis for such certification.” If the agency head has not waived the requirements for a regulatory flexibility analysis in accordance with the RFA's waiver provision, and no other RFA exception applies, the agency must prepare the regulatory flexibility analysis and publish it in the Federal Register at the time of promulgation or, if the rule is promulgated in response to an emergency that makes timely compliance impracticable, within 180 days of publication of the final rule. 5 U.S.C. 604(a), 608(b).

Rules that are exempt from notice and comment are also exempt from the RFA requirements, including conducting a regulatory flexibility analysis, when among other things the agency for good cause finds that notice and public Start Printed Page 36719procedure are impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest. Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy guide: How to Comply with the Regulatory Flexibility Act, Ch.1. p.9. Accordingly, SBA is not required to conduct a regulatory flexibility analysis.

Start Authority

Authority: 15 U.S.C. 636(a)(36); Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, Pub. L. 116-136, Section 1114.

End Authority Start Signature

Jovita Carranza,

Administrator.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

Footnotes

[FR Doc. 2020-13130 Filed 6-16-20; 2:00 pm]

BILLING CODE 8026-03-P