Paycheck Protection Program reopens. Here’s what small-business owners should know.

Community lenders serving minority-owned businesses will have exclusive access to new PPP funding for at least two days.
Paycheck Protection Program

A third round of the Paycheck Protection Program will prioritize minority-owned businesses and the community lenders that serve them. The U.S. Small Business Administration announced the program will reopen with a staggered approach, beginning Jan. 11 and continuing through March 31.

Last month, President Donald Trump signed a $900 billion Covid relief package with $284 billion earmarked for forgivable PPP funding. Community financial institutions (CFIs), those with $1 billion or less in average total assets, will have exclusive access to the PPP loan portal for at least the first two days. These lenders typically focus on businesses that historically have been ignored by larger financial institutions.  

CFIs can start submitting loan applications for first-time (“first draw”) borrowers on Jan. 11, according to SBA guidelines. Customers seeking second loans through these institutions can begin applying on Wednesday. The program will expand to all participating lenders throughout the week.

Why it matters: Earlier rounds of the program relied heavily on traditional banks to deploy PPP loans. The first two rounds, which began April 3 and ended Aug. 8, distributed more than 5.2 million loans totaling $525 billion.

Many Black business owners struggled to find banks willing to accept their applications because fewer Black businesses had a relationship with them. Data analyzed by the Associated Press revealed that minority business owners who did receive PPP loans waited months, while a larger number of White business owners accessed loans earlier in the program.

To help eliminate such barriers, Congress, under the new program, set aside funds for new and smaller borrowers, for borrowers in low- and moderate-income communities, and for community and smaller lenders. The breakdown includes:

  • $35 billion for first-time borrowers.
  • $30 billion for lending by community financial institutions, insured depository institutions, credit unions and farm credit system institutions with consolidated assets of less than $10 billion.
  • $15 billion for first-time borrowers who employ 10 or fewer people or for loans less than $250,000 for entities located in a low-income neighborhood.
  • $25 billion for second-draw borrowers who employ 10 or fewer people or for loans less than $250,000 for entities located in a low-income neighborhood.

On Friday, SBA officials announced key PPP updates for borrowers that include:

  • A “covered period” that can be any length between eight weeks and 24 weeks. 
  • An expanded list of eligible expenses such as personal protective equipment, supplier costs and property damage. [Up to 40% of the forgiven amount can be for non-payroll costs.] 
  • An expansion that includes 501(c)(6) organizations, housing cooperatives, among other types of organizations.

Businesses that previously received a PPP loan (“second draw”) can re-apply for a loan of up to $2 million, if they: 

  • used the full amount of the first loan,
  • employ fewer than 300 people, and
  • can show at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020.

For more information, visit the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Guide to Small Business Covid-19 Emergency Loans.

Katrina Louis
Katrina covers Charlotte's Black business scene for QCity Metro. She's a Miami transplant, pescatarian and lover of the arts. She earned a public relations degree from the University of Florida. Got a news tip? Email her at

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