Banks Activate Phase 2 of COVID Small Business Loans

Small Business Administration website crashes within hours of reopening with $310 billion in additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

After passage of the next wave of funding for Coronavirus relief last week, the SBA program administering the $310B in small business support saw its E-Tran website crashed within hours of opening amid unprecedented demand and ongoing controversy. These website problems come on the heels of the first phase of funding running out of money and small business owners complaining of poor program design, preferential treatment and loopholes allowing large corporations to apply for and get funding.

Just two weeks after the first phase was rolled out, the Paycheck Protection Program, part of the C.A.R.E.S. Act, ran out of funds for small businesses in need of support. In a decidedly bumpy rollout, small business owners across the country reported getting conflicting information from the government agency administering the program and the financial institutions implementing the loans. Before small business owners could decipher what the guidelines were, the money was gone.

As the new funding comes online, the U.S. Treasury is requiring big companies to return the money they got and providing new guidance for qualifying for lending. While some big banks appeared to prioritize larger businesses, community banks and credit unions showed their mettle in this moment, serving business owners in their local communities. After losing out on the first wave of funding from the bigger banks, small businesses are now turning to essential community institutions at their moment of need.

Upon hearing of the SBA technology problems, the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) responded by tweeting, “Community bankers, we hear your frustrations that the @SBAgov #PPP system is crashing, leaving you unable to process loan applications. We’re tracking this issue and will continue to update and communicate to get you back to funding small business customers.” Business customers in cities and towns across the country rely on community banks and credit unions for essential financial services. 

Sean Keathley, president and CEO of Adrenaline says, “Community banks are essential pillars of their communities. They understand main street business needs better than anyone. These are relationship driven banks and the people who staff them personally know the people they are supporting through lending programs like the PPP. That’s why they’re so committed to getting this funding for their customers and getting the needed support to local businesses that are hurting.”

Believe in Banking will be following the developments in small business lending and economic support programs during Coronavirus and beyond.