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CARES Act Help For Small Businesses

Learn About Government Loan Programs and CARES Act

Paycheck Protection Program

As part of the CARES Act, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) put in place provisions for loans to be issued that can cover payroll costs and a number of other costs. Congress passed several rounds of funding, with the third in the 1st Quarter of 2021. On January 6, 2021, the SBA issued guidance regarding the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Non-Profits and Venues Act (Economic Aid Act). On March 11, 2021, President Biden passed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. SBA subsequently released new PPP guidance in an IFR titled "Business Loan Program Temporary Changes; Paycheck Protection Program as Amended by American Rescue Plan Act". Congress has since passed an extension to the PPP lending deadline through May 31, 2021.

Your PPP Loan Application

In order to continue serving your PPP funding needs, we are referring our clients to apply online through PPP loan application specialist SmartBiz Loans for funding through PPP lender Customers Bank.  Your 1st Draw or 2nd Draw PPP loan can be started through the online application provided here.

APPLY FOR A PPP LOAN

For 1st Draw Increases please contact your First Merchants Banker. Additional PPP reference materials are archived below.

PPP Loan Forgiveness

More information on forgiveness can be found in the Interim Final Rule on Forgiveness Requirements and Loan Review Procedures.

Clients whose PPP loan funded in 2020 from First Merchants Bank have entered the loan forgiveness period. You should gather your supporting documentation, and also determine which forgiveness application fits your situation. The SBA PPP Loan Forgiveness page provides a variety of resources you will find useful. On January 19, 2021 the SBA released new application forms 3508, 3508EZ and 3508S.  The 3508S now includes borrowers with PPP loans of $150,000 or less. These forms also include the newly eligible payroll and non-payroll costs. We recommend reviewing the information linked below to familiarize yourself with requirements, and proceeding to the portal to submit your application.  

The most recent forgiveness application links are included here for your reference:

The SBA has issued a number of interim final rules and FAQs since inception of the program.  The website below may be valuable resources as you work through the forgiveness process.  

As we previously noted, we wanted you to be aware of a change that affects your PPP Loan Forgiveness.  In accordance with the CARES Act, SBA had previously been reducing the PPP forgiveness amount by the amount of the EIDL Advance. Recent legislation repealed this, and as of December 29, 2020, the SBA no longer implemented those reductions. For additional information, you may read the SBA’s notice on the repeal of the EIDL Advance Deduction Requirement.

PPP Archived Resources

We are currently not accepting new PPP applications, however we will continue to process 1st Draw PPP loan increase requests to existing PPP borrowers. PPP loan information is included here for your reference:

Please consult with your legal, tax, accounting or financial advisors, as needed. 

The SBA has issued a number of interim final rules and FAQs since inception of the program.  The websites below may be valuable resources as you work through loan application and forgiveness.  

The Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act went into effect on June 5, 2020 to provide greater flexibility for PPP borrowers.  Among other things, the bill:

  • Extended the forgiveness period for all PPP loans from 8 to 24 weeks from the date of origination;
  • Reduced the minimum amount that borrowers must devote to maintaining payroll from 75% to 60% in order to receive forgiveness;
  • Allowed for maturity (i.e. 2 years) on previously made PPP loans to be extended by mutual agreement of the lender and the borrower;
  • Modified the rules related to when loan payments would begin for that portion of a loan that is not forgiven.


Additional Provisions in CARES Act

The CARES Act has several additional provisions that may be of particular interest to business owners.  For additional information on government assistance programs, proceed to our Commercial COVID-19 Support page.


Financial Assistance and CARES Act for Individuals

As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 situation together, we know that you may have questions about how First Merchants is prepared to support our personal banking clients during this unprecedented time. Know that your bankers are here to help. Read information related to financial assistance initiatives that we’re offering as well highlighting important parts of the CARES Act.