Bank of America has reportedly become the first large bank to be able to take digital applications for the $350 billion small business loan program that is part of the government’s coronavirus relief package. The financial institution’s portal went online at approximately 9 a.m. Eastern Time on Friday morning (April 3), CNBC reported.
The federal government has requested that banks aid in distributing $350 billion in loans at a minimum to small companies. Industry groups and financial institutions, however, have noted they didn’t have the guidance to get the digital systems operating until the last minute.
The Treasury Department issued the guidance at approximately 7 p.m. on Thursday, which made banks rush to have their systems take applications for loans.
None of the websites of three other large U.S. banks were taking program applications as of the middle of Friday morning at New York time. Wells Fargo, for its part, had announced that it wouldn’t have the ability to take applications on Friday.
Consumer Bankers Association Head Richard Hunt said on Thursday per the report, “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.”
A separate report noted that Bank of America Corp. has taken in approximately 10,000 requests for small business loans within the first hour of beginning to accept them.
Small businesses have been strongly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic that has led some cities to close businesses that are not essential. Consumers, too, are staying in their residences to reduce their spending.
“Speed is of the essence here for these types of small businesses,” Bank of America Chief Executive Brian Moynihan said per CNBC. “The money will start to go out the door once these applications are processed over the next short period of time.”
Congress had put $349 billion for small companies in its stimulus package of $2 trillion. These firms will have to depend upon financial institutions to receive the money.