In less than 14 days the Small Business Administration and its bank partners processed more than 14 years’ worth of loans. That’s $349 billion going into the accounts of small businesses to help lessen the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
I’m not saying this to toot my own horn (I’m a banker) but to ask congress to send us more money. Unfortunately, $349 billion wasn’t enough to help everyone.
Banks were inundated with applications and we’ve worked long hours every day since April 3rd to review and process them. The government and SBA finalized the rules for the program less than 12 hours before they started processing applications. And they continued to refine and redefine some of those rules over the last two weeks.
Lenders had to set up processes and procedures on the fly — my colleague likened it to being on a fast-powered train on a railroad and we were laying down tracks as we went. All from our home offices.
Thanks to many bankers from all lines of business— branch managers, corporate trainers, data programmers, underwriters, even commercial real estate analysts who don’t work for traditional banks — customer applications were sent through the system, to the SBA, and back to the bank for funding.
But there are a lot of applications still in process that weren’t locked in for funding. I know my bank is not alone in fielding calls from worried businesses who need money to cover payroll and rent.
I’m hopeful Congress will approve a second round of funding of up to $250 billion. We are tee-ing up applications as I type that will be ready to submit once the SBA flips the switch back to “on.”
For now, I want to say “thank you” to all my friends at lending institutions who have worked tirelessly for the past two weeks. Thank you to our legislators for providing for our customers. Thank you to our customers for trusting us to help you and for your patience as we get it done. Thank you to my kids who put up with two overworked and tired parents (my husband is a banker as well).
There are many unsung heroes of this unique time in our history. Bankers are but one. Let’s celebrate them all.