Author:

Significant Changes Coming To the Paycheck Protection Program

As of 6/3/20, over $100 billion in PPP funding was still available from SBA authorized participating lenders. Today, President Trump signed HR7010, the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020. The bill changes specific loan forgiveness provisions of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). PPP was a part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) passed by Congress to mitigate the effects of COVID-19. Companies or organizations who secured PPP loans are cautioned and advised to review the new legislation very carefully, as detailed below. Under PPP, eligible businesses could apply for forgivable loans of 2.5 times their average monthly payroll or $10 million, whichever is the lesser amount. A recipient can have 100 percent of its PPP loan forgiven if it uses the proceeds of the loan on the following items during the eight weeks beginning on the date of loan origination: Payroll costs as defined by the CARES Act; Any payment of interest on any covered mortgage obligation (which shall not include any prepayment of or payment of principal on a covered mortgage obligation); Any payment on any covered rent obligation; and Any covered utility payment. Loan recipients were also required to spend at least...

UPDATE: Federal Reserve Board Expands Main Street Lending Program

After receiving extensive public comment during the past month, the Federal Reserve announced on April 30, 2020 that it will expand the scope and eligibility of its Main Street Lending Program (“Program”). The Federal Reserve’s recent action follows the unprecedented steps taken by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve on April 9, 2020, to provide up to $2.3 trillion in credit facilities to households, employers, and state and local governments in response to the COVID-19 emergency’s impact on the U.S. economy. Gibbons previously covered these newly announced programs in a client alert. The Program facilitates lending to small and medium sized businesses. The Federal Reserve received 2,200 submissions relating to the Program, and on April 30, 2020 issued two updated Term Sheets and an initial Term Sheet, which are summarized as follows: The Program comprises the Main Street New Loan Facility (MSNLF), the Main Street Expanded Loan Facility (MSELF), and the new Main Street Priority Loan Facility (MSPLF). Below is a side-by-side comparison chart and additional details about the Program. Program Loan Options MSNLF MSPLF MSELF Term 4 years 4 years 4 years Minimum Loan Size $500,000 $500,000 $10,000,000 Maximum Loan Size Lesser of $25M or 4x 2019...

COVID-19: Federal Reserve Announces $2.3 Trillion in Loans

On April 9, 2020, acting with the approval and consent of the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, the Federal Reserve took unprecedented additional action using its statutory emergency lending powers to provide immediate support to the national economy. In so doing, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve adopted a series of measures that will provide up to $2.3 trillion in credit facilities and loans to households, employers, and state and local governments, consistent with the Federal Reserve’s emergency lending powers under Section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act (12 U.S.C. 343(3)). In particular, the Federal Reserve will adopt or expand on the following programs: Main Street New Loan Facility (MSNLF) and Expanded Loan Facility (MSELF): The Federal Reserve will purchase up to $600 billion in loans, and the Department of Treasury, through Section 4027 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Securities Act (“CARES Act”), will make a $75 billion equity investment in a single common special purpose vehicle (SPV) in connection with the MSNLF and MSELF, both of which are designed to facilitate lending to small and medium sized businesses by eligible lenders (i.e., US insured depository institutions, US bank holding companies, and US savings and loan...

Financial Disaster Relief for Start-Ups – Yes, It Is Possible!

The specific challenge we are addressing here is for start-ups and other early-stage businesses. Gibbons attorneys are heavily involved in advising businesses in all industries and of all sizes on the full range of state and federal coronavirus disaster relief programs available to them. Start-ups and other early-stage companies face particular challenges in obtaining governmental relief. Gibbons understands this and is here to help. With our strong commitment to start-ups and other early-stage businesses, we recognize your dire need for funds for survival, as well as growth, at this critical period. We also recognize that the federal and state application requirements seem staggering. Founding teams are confronted with overwhelming requests for tax returns, current financial statements, monthly sales figures, and similar requirements. Which aid program(s) should you pursue? How do you decide? How does a pre-revenue or newly launched start-up demonstrate to federal and state agencies substantial economic injury? How do you determine the best route for disaster assistance with the highest chance of short-term success and without being overwhelmed by red tape? What is its most recent pre-coronavirus valuation, and how was it justified – for example, thought independent third party investments or a verified order pipeline? How much...

NJEDA Steps Up With Funding for Approved Accelerators and Their Qualifying Cohorts With Exciting New $2.5 Million “NJ Accelerate” Program

On February 11, 2020, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (“NJEDA”) approved a $2,500,000 pilot program labeled NJ Accelerate (“NJ Accelerate”). The NJEDA expects to attract more accelerator and start-up activities to the State by encouraging the increased participation of New Jersey based entrepreneurs in accelerator programs that provide specialized expertise, mentorship, and technical assistance. The NJ Accelerate program will be organized in a two-step process: (1) accelerator operators will be pre-qualified (“Approved Accelerators”) and, (2) financial assistance will be provided from the NJEDA to domestic New Jersey early-stage companies that complete a program at an Approved Accelerator. With a $2,500,000 pilot program budget, the NJEDA anticipates that approximately 10-15 companies will be supported in the NJ Accelerate pilot program in addition to the support and engagement of at least five Approved Accelerators. Domestic companies from an approved accelerator and meeting certain requirements are eligible to receive direct loan support from the NJEDA up to $250,000 in the form of a 10 year convertible promissory note and will be in the same amount of investment dollars funded into the start-up by the Approved Accelerator. There will be no repayment obligation for the first seven years. Domestic companies are also eligible...

Equity Crowdfunding Turns Six Months Old: Looking at Title III for Investors and Businesses

November 16, 2016 marked the six-month anniversary of Title III of the JOBS Act of 2012 being fully implemented. Title III and the rules promulgated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) allow businesses to raise capital through “equity crowdfunding.” This is the act of raising capital from others via the internet, by seeking small investments from a large number of potential investors through the use of licensed broker-dealers or internet funding portals. These investments are exempt from the traditional security registration requirements. People are generally familiar with existing “crowdfunding” platforms such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and GoFundMe which have been in existence since at least 2008. These platforms practice rewards-based crowdfunding.  Backers give a “campaign” money, and the backer gets back a “reward,” i.e., a thank you note or the first edition of a product. Title III, however, allows for “equity crowdfunding,” which is the ability to buy ownership in an early-stage company and hopefully reap a monetary return on that investment. Instead of getting that thank you note or new product, the investor is getting a piece of equity in the company he or she just invested in. Many industry professionals and...

New Jersey State Pay-to-Play Rules and Federal Elections

New Jersey has its own individual pay-to-play rules that do not apply to federal candidates regardless of the state office that the candidate holds. The two sets of New Jersey pay-to-play rules (“Pay to Play Rules”) of concern are: (i) New Jersey statutory rules for state contracts under N.J.S.A. 19:44A-20.13-20.25, and (ii) New Jersey regulations of the New Jersey State Investment Council (“SIC”) pursuant to N.J.A.C. 17:16-4.1 to 4.11. The New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (“ELEC”) and the New Jersey State Treasurer have stated that contributions to a federal account that are to be used only in federal elections will not trigger the New Jersey pay-to-play rules. See Advisory Opinion No. 03-2006; Letter of Bradley I. Abelow, New Jersey State Treasurer, June 23, 2006. The SIC regulations are applicable to political contributions and payments to political parties. See N.J.A.C. 17:16-4.2. Political contribution is defined as a contribution for the purpose of influencing any election for New Jersey state office, and under certain circumstances, any election for New Jersey local office. Since candidate committee for President is a candidate committee for a federal office, contributions to the committee are not political contributions. The SIC regulations define a “political party” as...