As the final funds are disbursed in the Paycheck Protection Program, banks and credit unions have started turning their attention to the next piece of the equation: forgiveness.
In that regard, last week turned out to be an eventful one. First, on Wednesday, May 13, the Small Business Administration communicated that they would require lenders submit forgiveness requests via an adaptation of their servicing process, rather than the automated ETran interface used to originate PPP loans.
This servicing process, according to the SBA, would require borrowers fill out a yet-to-be-released form, most likely modeled off the 1502. And on Friday night, we got that form.
The official SBA PPP Forgiveness application weighs in at a hefty 11-pages and is as dense and complicated as one would expect. And that’s why our team spent the better part of the weekend working to bring innovation to Form 3508 to simplify and automate it as part of our Forgiveness solution.
As is the case with every other bank product on our digital lending and account opening platform, our goal is to make Forgiveness easy for borrowers and lenders by using data and digital technology to remove work from the process. With that in mind, we wanted to share our thoughts on Form 3508 and highlight some of the innovation we’re bringing to the table to solve for much of the form’s inherent challenges:
- Simplicity. The PPP Forgiveness application is a heavy lift for borrowers as presented in SBA Form 3508. One of our bank partners called it “very dense,” adding that “customers without in-house expertise will have lots of questions.” So, we’ve focused on configuring our flexible digital application module to simplify the application for borrowers, educate them on the process, and preemptively answer many of their questions. This also works to keep bank channels from being overwhelmed.
- Better order of operations. The 3508 will likely confuse borrowers, as it’s not intuitive and the order of operations to complete it is somewhat reversed—it actually needs to be completed back to front. The answers to questions at the end of the form are required to answer questions at the beginning. Numerated presents the questions to borrowers in a logical and intuitive order.
- Pre-filled requests. The 3508 asks 16 questions of borrowers that lenders already have the answers to based on Form 2483. We’re bringing our data integrations and artificial intelligence to pre-fill the application with that information, streamlining and simplifying the process.
- Calculator automation. The 3508 asks another 10 questions that can be calculated based on information the borrower provides elsewhere in the form. Our solution calculates and populates these answers for the borrower, which expedites the process and minimizes errors.
- Removing redundancy. The 3508 presents questions that are not always required based on a borrower’s previous responses. So, our solution hides those questions from the borrower to avoid any confusion.
- In-line help. The 3508 contains pages of instructions that are separated from the questions they are designed to help with. We’ve placed the instructions, instead, right where the borrower needs them—alongside each question—using dynamic Tool Tips.
- Ensuring compliance. After borrowers complete the digital Forgiveness application and upload their supporting documents, they’ll e-sign the completed Form 3508, ensuring the lender has a compliant document for use with the SBA.
In addition to the innovations outlined above, our Founder and CEO Dan and our Chief Product Officer Adam, hosted a 30-minute webinar yesterday, May 18, to further discuss this latest guidance and share their perspectives. That webinar can be accessed on-demand, here.
Our team will also be showcasing the Numerated Form 3508-compliant application experience in detail, in an upcoming webinar later this week. Keep an eye on the Numerated blog and your email for details.