It was a phenomenal Friday (April 3) for Bank of America. The Charlotte-based global lender told CNBC that 85,000 customers have applied for $22.2 billion in loans since online applications became available starting at 8:45 a.m. to help small businesses survive the downturn from COVID-19.
Bank of America boasted that it was the first major financial institution (FI) to begin accepting applications for the federal $349 billion relief program on day one. As of mid-afternoon Friday, among the largest U.S. lenders, only Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase were accepting applications for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which was supposed to be available after midnight.
The good news for business borrowers: If they use the loan to pay workers, it does not have to be repaid.
President Donald Trump signed the $2 trillion economic stimulus package in response to the coronavirus crisis one week ago, CNBC reported. The action came after the House ratified the stimulus bill by voice vote, two days after it was passed by the Senate.
“That is an astounding number of applications to take in such a short period of time, and considering we just launched the site this morning at 8:45 a.m.,” CNBC reported that a Bank of America manager told staff in an email regarding the large volume of loan applications.
Data from JPMorgan was not available on Friday night. Wells Fargo said on its website Friday that the bank is not ready to launch.
“Financial institutions like ours continue to receive program implementation guidance from the SBA and the U.S. Treasury,” Wells Fargo stated, as reported by ABC News. “Unfortunately, as a result, Wells Fargo will not be able to start accepting applications on Friday, April 3rd. When we are able to take applications, you’ll find a link to that application on this page, so check back often.”
Still, trade groups complained about the lack of guidance to get online systems up and running until just hours before the deadline.
“Having just received guidance outlining how to implement a $349 billion program literally hours before it starts, we would ask for everyone to be patient,” Richard Hunt, head of the Consumer Bankers Association, told CNBC.