The SBA Paycheck Protection Program Loan through American Express
A loan that helps businesses keep their workforce employed during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
On March 27, 2020 Congress enacted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act into a law which initially allocated $349 billion and allocated an additional $310 billion to help small businesses impacted by the pandemic and economic downturn through the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”).
At this time, American Express has stopped accepting PPP applications, and the SBA is not accepting application submissions from Lenders.
Update on PPP Loan Forgiveness
If your small business obtained a PPP loan, you may be eligible to have up to 100% of your loan forgiven by the Small Business Administration. If you have a PPP Loan through American Express, we will soon start accepting Loan Forgiveness Applications. We will contact you with next steps once the application is available
In the meantime, you may want to start reviewing the forms and requirements for your Loan Forgiveness Application. Please visit the SBA's Paycheck Protection Program resource page for more information.
Application Time Line
You can submit your application to us any time on or before the maturity date of your loan.
Review the Form 3508 or Form 3508EZ requirements and gather supporting documentation.
You can receive up to 100% forgiveness if eligibility criteria are met, including at least 60% of loan proceeds used for payroll costs.
Payments are deferred for a minimum of 6 months.
How Loan Forgiveness Works
The PPP allows for forgiveness up to the full principal amount of your loan if your loan funds are spent in accordance with PPP requirements.
These requirements include using the loan in qualifying amounts for payroll and nonpayroll expenses and either maintaining, or adjusting within permissible ranges, your employee headcount and salaries. If these requirements are met, an amount up to the full principal amount of the loan can be forgiven, and you will not be required to repay the forgiven portion of your loan, or the associated interest, to American Express. In order to qualify for forgiveness, you must apply, and forgiveness of all or a portion of your PPP loan is not guaranteed.
Once our online Forgiveness Portal is available, you can submit your application to us any time on or before the maturity date of your loan. In the meantime, please visit the Paycheck Protection Program resource pages of SBA.gov or Treasury.gov for more information about the program.
Preparing for Forgiveness
Step 1: Review application requirements
Review the Loan Forgiveness Application forms and instructions on the SBA Paycheck Protection Program homepage.
Step 2: Apply online
Complete and submit a Loan Forgiveness Application, and supporting documentation, online through American Express’s Forgiveness Portal. We will notify you when we begin to accept applications.
Step 3: Review decision
We will review your application, submit your application to the SBA, and communicate the outcome to you.
Can you tell me more about the Loan Forgiveness Application process?
To apply for loan forgiveness, you must complete and submit a Loan Forgiveness Application, and supporting documentation, online through American Express’s Forgiveness Portal. We will notify you when we begin to accept applications.
Once you have submitted your completed application, we have 60 days to review your application and issue a decision, which gets submitted to the SBA.
Once the SBA confirms our decision, the forgiven portion of your loan—if any—will be deducted from your outstanding balance. Interest will not accrue on the forgiven amount.
What documents am I required to submit along with my Loan Forgiveness Application?
You can find this information on page 6 of Instructions for Loan Forgiveness Application Form 3508 and Page 4 of Instructions for Loan Forgiveness Application Form 3508EZ, both of which are found on the Paycheck Protection Program homepage of sba.gov or treasury.gov.
You will be required to upload this supporting documentation in the American Express Loan Forgiveness Portal.
How much of my loan can be forgiven?
As stated in the PPP Interim Final Rules relating to forgiveness, up to the full principal of the loan and any accrued interest can be forgiven. The forgiveness amount will depend on amounts spent during your Covered Period on payroll and nonpayroll expenses and the status of your employee headcount and salaries.
At least 60 percent of your loan funds must be used for payroll costs in order to be eligible for full forgiveness. For other forgiveness criteria, please review the Loan Forgiveness Application forms and instructions. If you do not meet all criteria, you may still be eligible for partial forgiveness.
Am I required to apply for forgiveness?
No. Applying for forgiveness is optional.
If you elect not to apply for forgiveness for your PPP loan, you will need to start making payments on your PPP loan 16 months after your loan disbursement date. Please note that interest accrues on PPP loans during the deferment period.
Should I be using Form 3508EZ or Form 3508 for forgiveness application?
There are two Loan Forgiveness Applications. The SBA has created a checklist to be used to identify whether Form 3508EZ, a shortened Loan Forgiveness Application form, or Form 3508 is appropriate for you. You will be taken through this checklist in the American Express Loan Forgiveness Portal.
If you have additional questions about the Form 3508EZ or Form 3508, please visit the Paycheck Protection Program homepage of sba.gov or treasury.gov to find the instructions and checklist.
What is the “Covered Period” of my loan when I apply for forgiveness?
Your “loan forgiveness Covered Period” is the 24-week period beginning on the date your PPP loan is disbursed; or, if your PPP loan was approved by the SBA before June 5, 2020, you may elect to have your loan forgiveness Covered Period be the 8-week period beginning on the date your PPP loan was disbursed. In either case this is the period of time, if you want to be eligible for forgiveness, in which you have to use your loan proceeds.
The loan forgiveness Covered Period of any borrower will end no later than December 31, 2020.
When is Alternative Payroll Covered Period available to a Borrower?
Alternative Payroll Covered Period is the period of time in which you incurred payroll costs eligible for forgiveness. It is used at your election only if you have a biweekly (or more frequent) payroll schedule. Otherwise, you would use the Covered Period for incurred payroll costs. The Alternative Payroll Covered Period may only be used for calculating eligible payroll costs. An eligible nonpayroll cost must be paid during the Covered Period or incurred during the Covered Period and paid on or before the next regular billing date, even if the billing date is after the Covered Period.
When do I need to start repaying my loan if I apply for forgiveness?
If you apply for forgiveness, the PPP Interim Final Rules states the repayment begins once the SBA makes a decision on your Loan Forgiveness Application. However, American Express is granting all of its PPP borrowers a minimum of 6 months of payment deferral from the date of their loan disbursement, regardless of when the SBA decision on loan forgiveness is made.
If you choose not to apply for forgiveness or you do not apply for forgiveness before within 10 months after the end of your Covered Period, repayment begins 16 months after your loan disbursement date.
When does my loan start accruing interest?
Interest starts accruing from the date of loan disbursement.
Do I need to store documents and the application forms? For how long?
Please reference the full list of documents that should be saved for your records in page 6 of Instructions for Loan Forgiveness Application Form 3508 and Page 4 of Instructions for Loan Forgiveness Application Form 3508EZ.
You must retain all such documentation in your files for six years after the date the loan is forgiven or repaid in full, and permit authorized representatives of SBA, including representatives of its Office of Inspector General, to access such files upon request.
American Express COVID resource page