U.S. small business coronavirus bailout got off to a bad start
Websites have crashed, phones are blocked and confusion reigns as businesses rush to kick off today to get their share of the $ 350 billion paycheck protection program.
Why is this important: It is a race to save jobs in the present and the future, and to ensure that as many workers as possible keep their benefits and paychecks during the coronavirus lockdown.
- The urgent sprint: So that every qualified business that needs a loan has access to a loan before they run out of money.
“Borrowers are waiting for their money, but the banks’ hands are tied because they cannot access the SBA portal, ”Paul Merski, who heads government relations for one of the largest community banking advocacy groups, told Axios.
- 60% of banks have never participated in SBA loan programs, he notes.
- Some banks and lenders, As Wells fargo, said they would not be ready to accept nominations today.
- Others, like Bank of America, first said they made the decision to only take clients who had already taken out a loan with them to speed up the process. After a wave of outrage, he later said that small businesses that did not meet this requirement could deal directly with bankers to submit an application.
Between the lines: Since many banks only accept existing business customers and other banks do not process PPP loans at all, it is likely that many small businesses will be left out because they have chosen the ” bad ‘bank years ago.
Axios has launched an open appeal to its readers, ask them to share their experience.
- Nick B: “Commercial lender here. We worked late hours trying to review the applications internally only to find that they would no longer accept the previous application. Desperate companies are redoing applications. The subscription is not well defined, the banks require different supporting documents. E-Tran apps are on hold, billion dollar banks are left with one or two people who even have access to the process in the SBA. Thousands of apps.
- Readers said Chase told them the application site would be online at noon. But a few minutes later it crashed (it was later operational).
- A banker: It’s running, but there are frequent errors and difficulty downloading pages, “like trying to call for a radio fare”, some are successful, most are getting a busy signal. Not all fields are configured in the system yet either. “
- Another banker: We haven’t even opened any apps (online, or the alternative – by manually responding to the request via email and sending it to the central team – we assume it will be required when the portal online will go down due to demand. Most of the banks I spoke with haven’t done so. due to late app reviews. But the assumption is that all systems that will be operated for acceptance of external applications will be overwhelmed. “
- Guillaume Agush (start-up entrepreneur): I had 5 different lists of necessary documents. Everyone is different and each element takes hours to complete. A listing shows IRS941 forms for the past year. Another list just for Q1 2020 but instead of payroll reports. Etc.
- A Boston banker told Axios that “absolutely” the system crashed over and over again. The banker said he received the last application just before the launch of the PPP program, said it was impossible to use. He described his experience as “a fucking cluster and a shit show”, adding that it “worked as badly as my worst fears”.
In the wings: In a call with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin this morning, a number of members of the Republican Chamber voiced concerns about banks in their districts struggling to work with the SBA to quickly provide money to people, reports Jonathan Swan of Axios.
- Mnuchin told members to get him a list banks that could not access the portal, according to two Republican members during the call.
- An administration official said: “The secretary offered to send us information on all relevant banks / stakeholders so that we could pass it on to the appropriate people in the SBA for them to look into potential issues. We have already received some of this information and we let’s execute them. “