The U.S. Small Business Administration announced it is launching a streamlined application portal to allow borrowers with Paycheck Protection Program loans of $150,000 or less through participating lenders to apply for forgiveness directly through the SBA. In the SBA’s Region 7, which includes Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska, nearly 217,000 PPP loans for less than $150,000 have been made, representing more than $4.6 billion. “The opening of this portal allows a simpler method for borrower and lender to meet the needs of the business, lender and the agency,” Region 7 Acting Administrator Leon Milobar said in a press release. Nationwide, more than 600 financial institutions have opted into direct forgiveness, which will enable over 2 million borrowers to apply through the portal. This represents 30% of loans of $150,000 or less that have not yet submitted a forgiveness application. The new PPP loan forgiveness platform will begin accepting applications from borrowers on Aug. 4. If their lender has opted in, borrowers can use this link on the SBA website to register to use the Direct Forgiveness Platform. Dave Lentell, the SBA Iowa District Office spokesman, said the easiest way for a small business to determine whether their lender is participating in the portal is to call the lender and inquire. Borrowers whose lenders are not on the portal will need to apply directly with their lender for forgiveness, he said. In addition to the technology platform, the SBA has established a PPP customer service team to answer questions and directly assist borrowers with their forgiveness applications. Borrowers who need assistance or have questions should call 877-552-2692 Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CST.