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Business and Economy

System Crash Keeps Mainers From Accessing 2nd Round Of Payroll Protection Program Funding

Mainers who were shut out of the Payroll Protection Program’s benefits when its first round of funding ran out two weeks ago were primed to get in on the second round. The program was supposed to open for new applications at 10:30 a.m. Monday, but the Small Business Administration’s online filing system crashed almost immediately, and was working only at a halting pace in the afternoon.

“All of the lenders are working diligently to get those loans in, but until the SBA portal is available to them, everybody is equally disadvantaged,” says Chris Pinkham, president of the Maine Bankers Association.

Pinkham says the program has already pushed more than $2 billion into Maine’s economy, and that the new funding should build on that success. He notes that the SBA late Friday issued new guidance that could make it easier for sole proprietors in Maine to access the forgivable loans that can finance up to two months of a company’s payroll.

Monday afternoon, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine also announced that the Treasury Department changed its rules to allow seasonal businesses to calculate their average payrolls based on the summer months, instead of the spring.