Paycheck Protection Program

The COVID-19 Working Capital Access Program created by the Commonwealth Financing Authority last week has reached its maximum level of funding and will no longer accept new applications. However, a new federal program will offer loans that can be forgiven to help affected small businesses and self-employed individuals cover operating costs during the pandemic.

The new Paycheck Protection Program will offer loans to cover payroll costs, mortgage interest, rent and utility costs over an eight-week period. No more than 25 percent of the loan may cover anything other than payroll costs, and loan payments will be deferred for six months for any amount that is not forgiven. Businesses must maintain their number of staff and level of payroll and quickly rehire any recently displaced employees in order to qualify for loan forgiveness.

The program is open to small businesses, veterans organizations, sole proprietorships, self-employed individuals and independent contractors, so long as each entity has 500 or fewer employees.

The application period for small businesses and sole proprietors will open on April 3. Self-employed individuals and contractors can apply starting on April 10. Applications are available here.

More details about the program are available here.

Beware of COVID-19-Related Investment Schemes

The North American Securities Administrators Association and the state Department of Banking and Securities (DoBS) are warning investors to be on the lookout for investment scams specifically tied to the threat of COVID-19, such as:

  • Falsely purporting to raise capital for companies manufacturing surgical masks and gowns; producing ventilators and medical equipment; or manufacturing vaccines or other miracle cures.
  • Taking advantage of concerns with securities market volatility to promote “safe” investments with “guaranteed returns” including investments tied to gold and other commodities; oil and gas; and real estate.
  • Touting “get rich quick” schemes with quickly earned returns to be used for rent, utilities, and other expenses.
  • Targeting retirees and senior citizens, falsely claiming they can quickly and safely recoup any losses to their retirement portfolios.

For more detailed information related to schemes and tips for protecting yourself, DoBS has developed a guide for investors. More information is also available at COVID-19 information and guidance for financial Institutions and consumers.

Contact DoBS toll-free at (800) PA-BANKS or (800) 722-2657 for more information or to file complaints about financial transactions, companies or products.

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