Wells Fargo has come up with details of how it will donate the $400 million in processing fees that it raked in from the U.S. Paycheck Protection Program. In a press release, the company said it would use its new Open for Business Fund “to engage nonprofit organizations to provide capital, technical support, and long-term resiliency programs to small businesses, with an emphasis on those that are minority-owned businesses.”
The San Francisco-based banking giant took part in the PPP, which was part of the multi-trillion-dollar CARES Act aimed at boosting the COVID-19 economy. Wells Fargo had announced in April that it planned to donate all of its PPP processing fees “to help small businesses impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic keep their doors open, retain employees, and rebuild.”
Wells Fargo said that, under the PPP program through June 30, it had loaned to more than “179,000 customers, with an average loan amount of $56,000, totaling $10.1 billion.” The company said that, “of the loans made, 84 percent of those are for companies that have less than 10 employees; 60 percent were for amounts of $25,000 or less; and, 90 percent of these applicants had $2 million or less in annual revenue.”
The company said that it would reopen its PPP loan application process, now that the U.S. government has extended the program.
“By donating approximately $400 million in processing fees to assist small businesses in need, Wells Fargo’s Open for Business Fund creates opportunities for near-term access to capital and addresses the road ahead to meaningful economic recovery, especially for Black and African American entrepreneurs and other minority-owned businesses,” said Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf. “Wells Fargo is committed to helping small businesses impacted by COVID-19 stay open and get back to growth.”
In a PYMNTS interview, Colleen Taylor, executive vice president and head of merchant services at Wells Fargo, said that small- and medium-sized businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic, but most are scrambling into the digital economy to blunt the effect of the COVID-19 crisis.
“[We’ve] seen a little bit of everything in the small business community — the ability to do curbside delivery, the ability to actually provide services or products via eCommerce,” she said. “We have actually had our merchants reach out to say, ‘How do I get into this eCommerce game?’”