James P. Helt | Posted on Apr 05, 2020
**Update: As of Thursday, April 16, 2020, all PPP funding has been exhausted**
I am writing this to address the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) being administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Specifically, I would like to share with you that our staff members have been working around the clock, and will continue to do so, to position us to accept applications and submit them to the SBA for approval in a safe and sound manner, and with your best interest in mind. To say that the rollout of this program for banks to implement has been fragmented, frustrating, and fraught with confusion and contradictory guidance would be an understatement of gargantuan proportion. Having said that, I am also sympathetic to the SBA’s limited timeline for implementation and the need to balance speed of implementation with fraud protection.
Since we value your business and you’ve entrusted us with your financial well-being, we feel it is our duty to make certain any applications we submit are: submitted on an application the SBA will accept, submitted with clear instructions on how to calculate the amount of the loan requested, and submitted with all required SBA documentation and appropriate certifications.
To be clear, the primary concern to our company is the success of your business. I understand the critical need for access to these funds for you, and I assure you we are working diligently to begin submitting applications to the SBA as soon as we can do so responsibly. Applications submitted in haste stand a very good chance of being rejected, or of even greater concern, being accepted, funded and then deemed to be ineligible for debt forgiveness, placing both your business and the Bank in harm’s way.
Our interests in helping you in gaining access to PPP funds are perfectly aligned with yours. If your business fails, we too will feel the impact of that loss. We remain committed to working as quickly as we can to position your application for submission, but we are also dedicated to the belief that we cannot submit applications without the ability to clearly tell you what the rules from the SBA are to ensure the loan can be both obtained and eligible for forgiveness.
Despite what you are seeing and hearing in the news media, the SBA system was NOT ready to begin submitting applications on Friday and as of today, ACNB has NOT been granted access to their electronic application system to begin the process despite our continued efforts.
I understand one of the driving factors causing customers concern is, understandably, the fact that the pool of funds will be distributed by the SBA on a first come first served basis. As a result, everyone wants in immediately to ensure they receive funds before the available funds are exhausted. While I know your need for these funds is urgent, I’d like to point out that given the challenges the banking industry faces, at this juncture, with additional clarity needed from the SBA and Treasury Department, it is unlikely the pool will be depleted as quickly as originally believed. Perhaps even more importantly, the Treasury Department has stated they are authorized to replenish the funds, if depleted, and WILL DO SO if necessary.
Lastly, I need our customers to understand that we cannot provide legal or tax advice. We will do everything we can to address questions regarding eligibility requirements of the program based on the most recent guidance available from the SBA. However, there may be questions posed to us where our response is to advise you to seek the advice of your legal counsel or tax advisor. Again, our goal is to provide you with the tools necessary to be successful and to assist you in making the best financial decisions available to you. Sometimes that goal can best be achieved by directing you to your trusted advisors in either the legal or tax field.
In closing, I want to reiterate that our interests and your interests are perfectly aligned regarding trying to get your application for PPP funding, and ultimately debt forgiveness, processed as quickly as possible. Believe me, our unified interests are best served by processing PPP applications in a responsible, fully informed manner.
Thank you for your attention to this message, as well as your patience and understanding. We are working tirelessly to accommodate your application for PPP funds request, and will continue to do so, I assure you.