LEHI — Utah expense management innovator Divvy jumped into the mix Tuesday on helping small businesses connect with federal stimulus money and processed some $800 million in loan applications in just the first five hours of operation.
While numerous financial institutions have struggled to bring systems online to process applications for $350 billion in emergency funding via the Paycheck Protection Program since the program went live last Friday, Divvy said it has partnered with a tech-savvy lender and launched a 100% digital portal that is aiming to optimize speed and efficiency.
The goal, according to Divvy co-founder and Chief Business Officer Alex Bean, is to help as many businesses as possible that are now in dire need amid the economic cataclysm that’s accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The main thing is, we want to see the small to midsize businesses out there who are crucial to us and crucial to Utah get the help they need,” Bean said. “We want to make sure those business owners know what’s going on … and we’re beating the big banks in speed and software.”
Bean said Divvy is drawing interest from clients that have run into roadblocks with other financial institutions, some of whom are still relying on manual document processing to push applications through.
“My brother got a call from his bank and they told him to fill out a form and wait for a call back,” Bean said. “It’s hard to believe, but some banks are still trying to use a manual process.”
Sterling Snow, Divvy senior vice president of revenue, said the company’s lending partner for the Paycheck Protection portal is New Jersey-based Cross River Bank, an institution with tech sector backing and a high proficiency in digital transaction processes.
“Cross River Bank has been an incredible partner,” Snow said in a statement. “Since the PPP program is first come, first served, we knew we’d need a banking partner who could process lots of loans quickly, without applications getting stuck.
“And CRB has done just that.”
Bean said Divvy was able to build an interface that meshed easily with Cross River’s digital banking platform and that the institution has $3 billion to $6 billion in headroom on the loans it can originate for the Paycheck Protection Program. Those loans are backed by the U.S. Small Businesses Administration with financing granted by the $2 trillion federal stimulus package passed by Congress in mid-March.
The Paycheck Protection Program provides federally guaranteed loans to eligible small businesses in amounts up to $10 million and may be partially forgivable. The available financing can provide businesses that employ 500 or fewer with funds equal to 2 1⁄2 times the company’s average monthly payroll expenses.
Snow said the interface, available at getdivvy.com/covid-19/sba-ppp-loans/assistance, walks applicants through a process that can be completed in a matter of minutes.
“This is the fastest, easiest solution for PPP applications available today, because it all takes place online,” Snow said. “We’re seeing customers take their applications from start to finish in 15 minutes.”
Divvy’s main business is focused on expense management, credit card and bill pay functions, all of which flow from an innovative, cloud-based platform that launched about 2 1⁄2 years ago. Since that time, Divvy has emerged as one of Utah’s fastest-growing tech companies. Divvy’s products are free as it collects fees on the bank-side of the transactions it mediates.