With thousands of businesses preparing to ask for their eight-week loans to be forgiven, banks and borrowers are just now beginning to realize how complicated the program may turn out to be. Along with lawmakers, they are pushing the Treasury Department, which is overseeing the loan fund, to make forgiveness requirements easier to meet.


"Virtually every small business borrower believes that this will be forgiven," said Paul Merski, a lobbyist for the Independent Community Bankers of America. "They took it out assuming that it would be a grant but it's not -- you have to abide by very complex rules and regulations on how this is spent."

One of the biggest stumbling blocks is a requirement that businesses allocate 75 percent of the loan money to cover payroll costs, with only 25 percent allowed for rent, utilities and other overhead. That has become more difficult as the economic crisis from the virus drags on and as some businesses face a prolonged period of depressed sales, even once they reopen.

Some businesses are facing smaller payroll expenses because workers have opted to accept more generous unemployment insurance benefits, while only a handful of states have so far allowed businesses to reopen.

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