ABA Chair Stewart: Small Businesses ‘Starving’ for PPP Funding

In an interview with NPR’s Marketplace radio program, ABA Chair Laurie Stewart discussed her bank’s recent experience rolling out the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program. Stewart—who is president and CEO of Sound Community Bank in Seattle—said that her bank alone made 300 PPP loans to small businesses in just two weeks and had an additional 293 borrowers in the pipeline when funding ran out on April 16.

“We did not have a good grasp of how many small businesses would just be starving, literally starving for this funding,” she said, adding that she’s “still thinking positively that there will be additional funding.” Lawmakers on Monday signaled that they were inching closer to a deal that would allow PPP funds to begin flowing once again.

Stewart also credited her bank’s lending team—which was already facing heightened demand for mortgage loans in the low interest rate environment—with working around the clock to get commercial customers approved for much-needed PPP funding. “We had to create a brand-new loan program with everybody working from their home, from their kitchen table, seven days a week,” Stewart says.” it was just a huge step up in throughput.” Listen to the interview.