Be Aware of Changing Guidance from the Feds
As federal agencies scramble to implement COVID-19 emergency legislation, their guidance is constantly evolving (and in some cases mutating). Changes in position are not always highlighted.
For example, the Department of Labor issued a series of FAQs on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (current version found here), with an expanding list of questions and answers, without warning that some of the answers to prior questions have changed. Likewise, on April 6 the Small Business Administration (SBA) added 17 new questions and answers to the single-item version of the FAQ previously in effect. In doing so, it did not bring attention to the addition of the following sentence in the middle of answer 1: “The level of diligence by a lender should be informed by the quality of supporting documents supplied by the borrower.” This strikes us as an important nuance.
Lender beware—and independently check for changes.
UPDATE: On April 7, the SBA changed the answer to FAQ No. 1 once again (current version found here), this time eliminating the sentence that the “level of diligence by a lender should be informed by the quality of supporting documents supplied by the borrower.” It also added the following sentence, significantly liberalizing its guidance on this issue: “In addition, as the PPP Interim Final Rule indicates, lenders may rely on borrower representations, including with respect to amounts required to be excluded from payroll costs.”