April 1. On this date in history: 0527: Justinianus became emperor of Byzantium; 1748:

Ruins of Pompeii found; 1889: First dishwashing machine invented; 1891: William Wrigley, Jr. Company founded. Juicy Fruit gum was born; 1929: Louie Marx introduced the Yo-Yo; 1938: Baseball Hall of Fame opened in Cooperstown, NY; 1946: Weight Watchers formed. Pun intended; 1963: “General Hospital” and “Doctors” premiered on TV; 1976: Apple Computer began operations. And another very important date:

April 1, 2021. Not one for the history books, but an important date for SBA lenders. April 1 is the deadline of the temporary waiver the SBA Environmental Appeals Committee gave you to comply with the new provision of SOP 50 10 6 regarding the Environmental Questionnaire. Beginning that day, the Questionnaire must state that “intentionally falsifying or concealing any material fact with regard to the subject matter of the Environmental Questionnaire (submitted for an SBA loan) may, in addition to other penalties, result in prosecution under applicable law.” No foolin’!

Does Your Environmental Questionnaire Comply? SBA doesn’t have a required Questionnaire. But if you’re using the one in Ventures+, chances are you are already compliant. Yet I often see financial institutions or environmental firms use their own form and hand it to the CDC saying, “Here you go!” Nothing wrong with that, as long as the Questionnaire is SBA compliant.

And since you asked … No, you don’t have to use SBA Form 413 for the Personal Financial statement. You can use any “equivalent” form.  I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t be willing to argue in some court somewhere that the personal financial statement I used is “equivalent” to Form 413. Here’s a new neurosis for you:  How similar do two documents have to be so they’re equivalent?

For example, back in July 2018, we saw that not all Lenders’ Personal Financial Statement forms require joint reporting and not all Lenders’ PFS forms have instructions to include the assets of minor children. SBA requires both and adds that lying on the form is punishable by up to five years in jail!  The bank might not use that language. Without it, are the forms equivalent?

Our Recommendation. Use the Environmental Questionnaire in Ventures+. And for good measure, use Form 413 for the Personal Financial Statement. You don’t want to be a footnote to history on April 1!

Play it safe and stay safe.

Richard Jeffrey
Senior Associate, CDC/504 Program

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