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Applying for the Paycheck Protection Program? Advice from 3 lenders
We talked to three business loan marketplaces to get the scoop on this SBA program.
Updated . What changed?
The SBA will only accept PPP applications from businesses with fewer than 20 employees between February 24 and March 10, 2021. After that date, it will accept applications from all small businesses until the program closes on March 31, 2021.
Online marketplaces can help borrowers find funding when they aren’t sure which lender to apply with. They can be particularly useful for small business owners applying for loans through the SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) after its chaotic launch. And they have a birds-eye view of what’s working — and what’s not.
We talked to individuals at three loan connection services to get advice for business owners hoping to take advantage of the SBA’s new program. Responses have been edited for length and clarity.
- Who we talked to: Brock Blake, CEO
- Number of PPP applications received: Just under 10,000
The SBA was not prepared for this type of demand
“Lenders have been evaluating applications fairly quickly, especially since most small businesses will qualify for these relief funds. The hangup is still on the processing side. As lenders evaluate and approve completed applications, they hit a logjam when they try to submit to the SBA. This is largely due to outdated technology.
In response to these challenges, the SBA launched a new lender gateway in partnership with Amazon Web services to help facilitate connection to the existing E-Tran system. On Monday, April 6th, E-Tran was down all day, meaning no funds could get through.”
Fintechs are still waiting for approval
“Another big issue is the fact that the U.S. Treasury has still not approved fintech lenders to participate in the PPP, despite earlier assurances that these lenders would be allowed to do so. We do hope and anticipate that this will change soon, as it will allow capital to get into the hands of small business owners faster.”
Gathering documents is time consuming, but important
“Payroll verification and documentation will be the most important, and probably the most time-consuming things to prepare. I’d suggest that every business owner begin doing that as soon as they can.
If you’re self-employed and don’t have a great way of proving payroll, gather your bank statements, expense reports and any other documentation you may have, in advance of sitting down to complete your application.”
Patience is key
“Be patient — and we know this is hard. It’s expected that around 30 million business owners will be seeking this emergency relief funding, and that means systems are being pushed to their limits at the SBA. As difficult as this time is for business owners, we at Lendio assure you that we are in your corner fighting for you on multiple fronts.”
WATCH: Lendio CEO dishes the secrets to getting the PPP loan
- Who we talked to: Eric Goldschein, partnerships editor
- Number of PPP applications received: Thousands
You should be approved if you meet the basic requirements
“If a business is eligible and it meets the basic criteria for qualifying for a PPP loan, then there isn’t much of a reason for a business to be denied a PPP loan. The SBA has made it fairly easy for many small businesses to qualify, as there is no collateral requirement, no credit-elsewhere test, no minimum credit score, and so on.”
Documents are key, but requirements can vary
“The more pressing questions are whether a small business has all the documentation they need ready at the time of application, and if, at this point, they can find a lender who can process their application in a timely manner.
Every lender can have a different set of required documentation, so checking with them to see what they need before you submit your application is important.”
Lenders are struggling to meet business’s immediate needs
“Fundera isn’t a direct lender, but we work to connect lenders actively processing PPP applications with small businesses — particularly those unable to apply for a PPP with their usual bank.
For us, the biggest challenge has been balancing the real and immediate needs of our small business customers with a loan program that is already under an enormous strain and still has a few kinks to work out. We’re working around the clock to find ways to get businesses funded as soon as possible.”
Your bank should be your first stop
“If you have a relationship with a bank accepting PPP loans, you should absolutely try to work with them. If your bank is not accepting applications, you can use Fundera to access banks that are accepting applications from new customers.
I also recommend you contact local community banks and ask if they’d be able to accept an application from you if you move your deposit account to them. We’ve had a few customers have success here. If this works for you, you can withdraw your application from Fundera. That’s the order that we’re recommending people take in terms of finding a lender.”
More access to PPP loans is on the way
“I know this is much easier said than done, but having patience is going to be key here. As more and more lenders activate their PPP loan processes and the government approves more funding, this whole situation will become easier to navigate and funds will hopefully flow more quickly. Until then, hang tight.”
3. National Business Capital
- Who we talked to: Megan Capobianco, marketing manager
- Number of PPP applications received: Thousands
Applying online can speed up the process
“Due to our streamlined process and advances in technology, it takes minutes to evaluate an application when clients submit a full package (application and documents). Our process allows for us to seamlessly submit applications to our lenders.”
Documents are key, but make sure the information is correct
“The best advice I can give is to make sure your documentation is accurate. Have the correct payroll information readily available to submit with your application. Having the necessary information avoids any back and forth between the client and lender and allows for a straight submission.”
Banks are dealing with a backlog — it’ll take some time
“There are millions of business owners looking to access the Paycheck Protection Program right now. The banks and lenders are working as fast as they possibly can, but there is a backlog. It’s important to realize that we are all in this together, but it may take time to receive your funds, and stay calm.”
Resources for small business owners impacted by COVID-19
Apply for a small business loan
Below are online lenders and connection services offering business loans. Enter your annual revenue, time in business, and credit score to see your options.
Finder.com received a PPP loan in May 2020.
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