The nation’s banks are playing a vital role in delivering coronavirus relief funds to struggling businesses, American Bankers Association President and CEO Rob Nichols said in an interview on Bloomberg Radio today. Noting the strength of the industry going into the pandemic, Nichols said that “banks can be a tool to help strengthen our economy and help this economic recovery that everyone so desperately needs.”
Banks of all sizes have been working round-the-clock to provide loans through the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program, processing around 400,000 applications totaling roughly $100 billion as of Wednesday night, Nichols told Bloomberg’s David Westin. In addition, there are now roughly 4,000 lenders participating in the program, up from just 1,700 a week ago, a testament to how the program has scaled rapidly to meet the significant demand for PPP loans.
Meanwhile, focus is now shifting to securing additional funding for the program, Nichols said. “The idea of ensuring that the fund balance won’t be exhausted is a dialogue happening in Congress. It’s bipartisan, and we think that’s important.”
With the Fed and Treasury today announcing another new program, the Main Street Lending Program, Nichols emphasized that banks stand ready to continue providing these important funds to businesses. “The banking sector is ready to go. We’re ready to get this money out the door.”