- After creating a program for people to access their stimulus check money more quickly in March, billionaire Mark Cuban and bank CEO Jill Castilla are launching a website to help PPP loan recipients apply for forgiveness.
- The website, ppp.bank, is launching Friday, May 29, at 7:00 p.m. ET.
- The site has automated the SBA’s 11-page PPP loan forgiveness application and provided supplemental materials, such as calculators and a list of additional forms your lender requires.
- Ppp.bank is free to use, and none of the partner companies are profiting from the website.
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Billionaire Mark Cuban and Citizens Bank of Edmond CEO Jill Castilla are at it again.
In March, the Dallas Mavericks owner helped Castilla create a program to give her customers faster access to their stimulus check money, and the two have since stayed in touch.
Now, they’re launching a website to make the PPP loan forgiveness application process simpler.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans are federal loans for small businesses and nonprofits that are financially struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.
Business owners’ PPP loans may be forgiven if they use the money for payroll and interest on rent, mortgage, and utilities. Businesses can receive partial forgiveness, but 75% of the forgiven amount has to go toward payroll to qualify.
But first things first — people have to fill out a PPP loan forgiveness application. And some are finding the document confusing.
You can fill out the PPP loan forgiveness application on the Small Business Administration’s website, but it’s 11 pages and relatively convoluted. So Cuban wanted to make it simpler to apply.
“It started last week where Mark Cuban emailed me and just said we need to figure out a way to automate this application, because right now it’s more cumbersome to fill out the PDF than the original PPP loan application,” Castilla told Business Insider.
“Hopefully it becomes simplified through some congressional action,” she continued. “But right now we have this 11-page application that’s really difficult to even understand. And then to go through the process of gathering all the right information, ensuring that you’re calculating everything correctly — is incredibly cumbersome and intimidating, especially for small businesses that lack a financial adviser or maybe don’t have incredibly strong financial acumen.”
As a solution, Cuban and Castilla created ppp.bank, which launches Friday, May 29, at 7:00 p.m. ET.
Through ppp.bank, you answer automated questions, and the website auto-fills the PDF for you. When the form is complete, you submit it to your lender. The website provides a list of supplemental documents you will have to give your lender, as well as helpful tools.
“It includes calculators, it has a worksheet so that the salary information can be provided, and basically everything that’s asked for in the application,” Castilla said. “It’s an easy, fillable way for the small business … or the nonprofit to work through the application online and then have a saveable PDF they could then provide their bank.”
The website is free to use, and no one is profiting from it
In late March, Cuban posted on Twitter about his desire to work with a bank to get customers’ stimulus check money to them quickly, since many needed money immediately and checks weren’t scheduled to go out for weeks.
Castilla reached out to Cuban on Twitter, then followed up with an email. He quickly responded, and together they created an overdraft line for the members of Citizens Bank of Edmond, where Castilla is CEO. By applying, customers were approved to overdraw their accounts by up to $900 within a couple hours, rather than waiting weeks for their stimulus checks to arrive.
Cuban and Castilla stayed in touch to talk about other ideas to help people through the economic crisis. On Tuesday, May 19, Cuban emailed Castilla to ask her to spearhead this new project.
She reached out to Arkansas FinTech company Teslar, which had previously built a tool to help her bank communicate with customers when they applied for PPP loans — customers received automated emails for each step of the process until they received their loan. Because she had enjoyed working with Teslar, Castilla asked the company to build the automated application tool for ppp.bank.
Cuban and Castilla also partnered with fTLD Registry Services LLC, which provided the registry for a dot-bank website. Dot-bank URLs are limited to banks, and getting one approved and set up is typically a multistep process. Securing a dot-bank URL would communicate to applicants that ppp.bank is legitimate and safe to use.
“FTLD was able to give us the ppp.bank URL in record time, within 48 hours,” Castilla said.
“We were mostly concerned about the site being able to handle tens of millions, potentially, small businesses and nonprofits accessing it,” Castilla said. “And so we were able to partner with Mark to get access to Amazon web services, so the site can handle a heavy load.”
The website is free for people to use. In fact, none of the partner companies are making money from creating ppp.bank. FTLD donated the URL. Teslar donated numerous hours of programming and has promised to continue updating the website if the government makes changes to the forgiveness application. And Cuban has been covering expenses.
“It was all just a service to our country and those small businesses that are really struggling through this COVID-19 crisis,” Castilla said.
- Read more on managing your money in this tumultuous time:
- 3 options for people struggling to pay their mortgage during the global health crisis
- 4 reasons to get disability insurance, even if you don’t think you need it
- If you’ve been financially impacted by the coronavirus, you may be able to pause payments on these 8 bills
- How to get a stimulus check from the US government, which could pay up to $1,200 if you qualify
- In response to the coronavirus, credit card issuers like Amex and Capital One are letting customers skip payments without interest and more
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