The Trump administration’s $349 billion Payment Protection Program launched last Friday to provide emergency loans to American small businesses devastated by coronavirus—if business owners can navigate the confusing application process.
Banks were meant to be able to begin accepting applications last Friday, but very few banks had their online portals up and running at that time. Once they did, they were quickly flooded with applications. Bank of America received 10,000 loan applications in the first hour.
By Monday morning, Bank of America had received 177,000 applications for a total of $32.6 billion in loans, or nearly 10% of the $349 billion allotted. (The Small Business Administration has not publicly updated the application totals since Friday evening, when SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza tweeted that the count was at 17,500 loans.)
Bank of America (BAC) was criticized for initially rejecting applicants who did not have existing commercial loans with the bank, a qualification BofA now says it has lifted, as long as applicants do not have a borrowing relationship with another bank.
The loans are supposed to be open to businesses with fewer than 500 employees, but Wells Fargo (WFC)