Senate Bill Proposes to Expand Paycheck Protection Program to organizations in Bankruptcy — however with a Significant Catch

Late final month, Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced Senate Bill 4321 (S-4321), entitled “Continuing business healing and Paycheck Protection Program Act” (Bankruptcy Access Bill), which, if enacted, would allow organizations in bankruptcy to be eligible for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. Unfortunately, because presently drafted, the Bankruptcy Access Bill seems to be of restricted use that is practical since involvement within the PPP by debtors in bankruptcy will be susceptible to the small company Administration’s (SBA) acceptance of the PPP loan requests, that will be not even close to most likely.

The PPP and also the Bankruptcy Exclusion

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic safety Act (CARES Act) created the PPP under Section 7(a) of this small company Act, which authorizes the SBA to ensure loans to qualified businesses that are small utilizing the aim of assisting them keep their workers working through the pandemic. The 7(a) loan requirement that a business demonstrate it was unable to obtain credit from commercial sources, in favor of a good-faith representation that “the current economic uncertainty makes the PPP loan request necessary to support its ongoing operations” absent statutory direction to the contrary, the SBA treated the PPP like any other 7(a) loan by requiring an applicant to not be “presently involved in any payday loans Michigan bankruptcy” (Bankruptcy Exclusion) while the CARES Act eliminated for the PPP. The SBA argues that permitting debtors in bankruptcy to qualify for PPP loans would create unnecessary risk, which would limit the salability of PPP loans on the secondary market in support of the Bankruptcy Exclusion. This argument is considerably undercut considering the fact that, as created, PPP loans can be forgiven into the level the mortgage profits are widely used to spend payroll along with other running costs associated with the company. Certainly, once the $350 billion PPP was made, it had been believed that more than half associated with the aggregate principal amount of all of the PPP loans is forgiven. Current statutory modifications to the PPP are going to bring about a greater portion of this now $660 billion PPP being forgiven.

The Bankruptcy Access Bill ended up being most likely precipitated, at the least in component, because of the entry of several conflicting court instructions in connection with enforceability for the Bankruptcy Exclusion. (See our associated alert right here.)

The Super-Priority PPP Loan

So that they can get rid of the above-mentioned confusion, the Bankruptcy Access Bill would amend the Bankruptcy Code to expressly authorize bankruptcy courts to permit debtors to acquire PPP loans. Particularly, a brand new supply, Subsection (g) of 11 U.S.C. § 364, would offer that bankruptcy courts,

after notice and a hearing, may authorize a debtor in control or perhaps a trustee that is authorized to work the company to acquire a [PPP loan], and such loan will probably be addressed as being a financial obligation to your level the mortgage is certainly not forgiven, with concern [over administrative claims].

If the PPP loan just isn’t completely forgiven, the Bankruptcy Access Bill would give the rest of the major quantity of the PPP loan super-priority claim that is administrative and therefore spot the remaining PPP loan ahead of the claims of all unsecured creditors, including virtually any administrative claims.

Regrettably, the foregoing Bankruptcy Code amendments wouldn’t be effective on enactment of this Bankruptcy Access Bill. Instead, the potency of the Bankruptcy Code amendments will be completely contingent from the SBA’s contract to process such PPP applications. Quite simply, the accessibility to PPP funds to bankruptcy debtors relies upon the cooperation of the extremely entity that created and has now looked for to enforce the Bankruptcy Exclusion.

It is really not clear why the SBA would prefer the possible marketability of PPP loans to third-party investors throughout the need of smaller businesses to get usage of funds to help keep their workers used plus the company running with this severe dislocation that is economic. Certainly, it could be argued that debtors in bankruptcy, especially those looking for bankruptcy security through the pandemic, could have a larger need than many other qualified little companies for the PPP, as well as the oversight for the bankruptcy court therefore the bankruptcy trustee would make sure appropriate utilization of PPP proceeds to help keep business working plus the workers regarding the job—the principal objective of the PPP when you look at the instance that is first.

The Takeaway: Plenty to Extol, but Concerns Stay

While debtors may see the Bankruptcy Access Bill with a feeling of optimism, the bill falls short of its lofty objectives of expanding PPP usage of bankruptcy debtors. While the SBA has invested the greater section of four months wanting to enforce the Bankruptcy Exclusion in courts around the world, its uncertain whether or not the SBA will soften its stance and accept PPP loan requests from debtors had been the bill become enacted. At the very least, passage through of the balance would telegraph towards the SBA Congress’s express intent to allow bankruptcy debtors to profit through the PPP. Nonetheless, desperate times necessitate bold action. The Bankruptcy Access Bill could be far better had been the bill to part utilizing the requirements of struggling organizations over those associated with the fledging trading that is secondary for PPP loans by removing the SBA’s buy-in requirement and alternatively instructing the SBA to simply accept PPP loan requests from bankruptcy debtors.

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