By Mike Kruzman /

There is still one week left for small businesses that may have previously been left out of the PPP loop to get focused help.

While funding for the first round of paycheck protection plan loans went quickly, more than 50% of the funds allocated for round 2 are still available. Lake Trust Credit Union Vice President of Lending Andrea Mosher said round 2 has been different from round 1 in that business owners have to show a 25% loss of income over a quarter in a previous year. The needs of businesses have also changed from where we are compared to a year ago.

Recently the Biden administration shifted the focus of the program, opening up a 2-week window for small businesses to get extra help. “Small businesses” in this case are employers with 20 people or less, which could include sole proprietors, independent contractors and the self-employed. The extra-focus window is open until March 10th.

Mosher says these businesses can still apply after the 10th, but encouraged those who qualify to contact their lender as soon as they can. She said this period is meant to make sure that financial institutions that serve small business owners give priority to those that might not be as big of a player in the pool from a bank’s perspective. Mosher said that from a credit union standpoint, like Lake Trust’s, most of their relationships are already through small businesses, so it hasn’t been as much of a shift.

New rules in round 2 also open the door to business owners with non-fraudulent felony convictions, business owners who are delinquent on student loans, and non-citizen small business owners who are lawful U.S. residents and can clarify that they can use an individual tax ID.

The PPP in its entirety is set to end on March 31st. Mosher said it will be interesting to see what happens with any unallocated funds that are left over. As for the new stimulus relief package working through Congress, she said lending institutions don’t really get the details ahead of the public, which makes it hard to get prepared. She encouraged all businesses to talk to their lender, noting there are other programs available outside of the PPP that may be available to them, that their lender can help them find, as well.