MISSOULA – In anticipation of a new round of Paycheck Protection Program assistance rolling out this week, the U.S. Small Business Administration has taken steps to ensure these relief loans get into the hands business owners who were unable to access a PPP loan in 2020.

The SBA announced it would grant exclusive, early access to first-time PPP borrowers starting Monday, Jan. 11, through community development institutions. The program opened to second-time PPP applicants on Wednesday.

An end-of-year emergency relief package from the federal government includes $284 billion for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, extending it through March 31 and making improvements to the original loan program. Many of the improvements are designed to help smaller businesses and businesses in underserved communities more easily access the funding.