Nichols to Small Businesses: Reach Out to Your Lender for Coronavirus Assistance

Despite a choppy start to the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program over the past week, ABA President and CEO Rob Nichols said he expects to see funds begin to be distributed “at scale” in the coming days. “As more and more of these lenders get online, the amount of small businesses that will be able to get the money is going to grow dramatically, and that’s what’s important here,” Nichols said in an interview with Sirius Radio’s Chris Frates over the weekend.  “We have a shared goal to get [funds]out into the marketplace as quickly as possible.”

Nichols advised small businesses to work with their existing lenders to obtain PPP funding, emphasizing that banks must adhere to know-your-customer rules when making PPP loans. He added that the association has discussed with Treasury the possibility of temporarily waiving these rules to facilitate PPP lenders more easily making loans to non-customers, but that “until there’s a waiver of that nature, it’s best for [small businesses]to go to [their]lender.”

He also encouraged struggling small business owners to reach out to their bank, regardless of where they are in the PPP loan process. “Even long before the passage of the CARES Act, banks have been working with their small business customers and clients on a host of things to help them, from waiving fees, doing payment deferrals on credit cards, mortgage forbearance” and more, Nichols said. “Banks have been at this since the early days of the crisis, working with their borrowers and their small businesses, because it’s in everyone’s interest to keep that sector of the economy . . . up and running.”