SBA District Director Talks with NFIB California Members

Date: May 01, 2020

Exclusive conference call provided answers, offered guidance on other questions

On an exclusive conference call arranged by NFIB for its California members on April 30, Heather Luzzi, a top-level district director for the U.S. Small Business Administration, provided small-business owners the latest information on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) programs and took questions from callers.

Never has getting timely and helpful information been more in demand, more valuable than now when small-business owners are grappling with the provisions and requirements contained in the PPP and EIDL.

It has always been a top priority of NFIB to put its members in direct communication with the policymakers and government officials affecting their right to own, operate, and grow their enterprises.

Luzzi’s conference call followed on the heels of other NFIB-arranged calls with State Treasurer Fiona Ma; Julie Su, secretary of the California Labor & Workforce Development Agency; Stewart Knox, undersecretary of the Labor & Workforce Development Agency; and Isabel Guzman, director of Governor’s Office of The Small Business Advocate.

Luzzi was joined by Luke Wake, staff attorney for the NFIB Small Business Legal Center, on the April 30 call.

Luzzi said the role of the SBA in disaster response has completely changed from being an adjunct of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to having FEMA assist it. Also, the area of the disaster has increased in size to consume a whole nation, not just hurricane or fire-ravaged areas.

“It’s been kind of thrust into a first responder situation,” said Luzzi about the SBA. “Because of the magnitude of the crisis, this is not one geographic area, it is all 50 states and territories … We actually have FEMA personnel deployed to us.”

Luzzi spent a considerable amount of time on the call distinguishing what the PPP and EIDL money may be used for and what it should not be used for. She also clarified the bank-approval process for callers still waiting for their money.

“With the PPP … SBA provides these lenders the autonomy to make the decisions on the loans themselves,” said Luzzi. “They do not have to come to the SBA to request approval for the loans. They can make those credit decisions, those loan decisions by themselves and simply through an electronic process, obtain an SBA loan number and move forward with the transaction.”

Wake alerted callers to new federal sick leave requirements they should be made aware of, and he recounted the most frequently asked question and concern NFIB receives:

  • I don’t have any cash flow. What do I do?
  • I’ve gotten the PPP loan. The clock is ticking. I’ve got eight weeks to spend it.

Luzzi and Wake answered, or attempted to answer, a variety of questions NFIB members had. “It’s very difficult to write guidance and cover everything,” said Luzzi, “so there is a common-sense component to this.”

Guidance, clarifications, and answers to questions on various topics included:

  • Why PPP is called a forgivable loan and not a grant
  • Know that PPP doesn’t cover debt payments but EIDL might
  • That PPP can be used whether or not the employee is working, but dual benefits cannot be collected
  • Why some banks aren’t participating
  • How to ensure maximum forgiveness
  • What is the time period for fulltime and part-time employees?
  • What happens if I keep filing for PPP loans at different banks?

Luzzi invited NFIB members to ask her any questions after the conference call by phoning her by either phoning her at 916-735-1709 or by email at [email protected] Wake can be reached at 916-384-7648, [email protected]

Click the arrow on the graphic below to listen to the conference call.

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