Financial Services

Bank of America's small business loan portal is up, making it the first major bank to begin program


Brian Moynihan, CEO, Bank of America

Scott Mlyn | CNBC

Bank of America says it is capable of accepting online applications for the government’s $350 billion small business relief program, becoming the first major bank to make that announcement. 

Just minutes earlier on Friday, none of the websites of four of the biggest U.S. banks —  JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo or Citigroup were accepting applications for the program, which was supposed to go live shortly after midnight.

That changed with Bank of America’s portal going live Friday at around 9:00 am ET.

The U.S. government has asked banks to help it dole out at least $350 billion in loans to small businesses, part of the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill signed last week. But banks and industry groups have complained that they lacked the guidance to get online systems up and running until just hours before the deadline. That guidance was finally issued by Treasury around 7 p.m. Thursday, leaving banks scrambling to get their systems to accept loan applications.

“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, said late Thursday in a statement, adding that the organization’s members would “move heaven and earth to get a system in place and running to help America’s small businesses and the millions of men and women who work at them.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said late yesterday at a press conference that the Paycheck Protection Program would be “up and running” on Friday. At 8:43 a.m., he tweeted that “large banks expected to go live soon this morning,” without naming the lenders. 

Still, the website for JPMorgan, the biggest U.S. bank, told customers that “We aren’t accepting applications for this program at this time. Check back for updates.”

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.



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