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(Updated 3:07 p.m. ET, April 3, 2020)
Topline: Bank of America said that 58,000 customers have for applied some $6 billion in loans since it opened its online portal at 9:00 a.m. this morning, CNBC reports; this morning, Bank of America was the first major bank to begin accepting applications for the federal government’s $349 billion relief program during the program’s chaotic rollout period.
- B of A received 10,000 applications for loans within the first hour, CEO Brian Moynihan told CNBC. The bank has been criticized for restricting applications to customers who already borrow from the bank, which excludes those customers who have checking accounts but not loans.
- The Paycheck Protection Program was supposed to go live around midnight last night, but major banks warned that they wouldn’t be ready to start lending because they hadn’t received enough guidance from the government.
- Guidance for lenders was posted around 7:15 p.m. EDT last night, just hours before the program was due to launch.
- “Having just received guidance outlining how to implement a $349 billion program literally hours before it starts, we would ask for everyone to be patient,” Richard Hunt, head of the Consumer Bankers Association, said in a statement late Thursday.
- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tweeted this morning that large banks would “go live soon.”
- JPMorgan Chase’s online portal opened this afternoon. Previously, the bank had told customers it wasn’t ready to process application materials.
- Citigroup C says that applications will be “available shortly.” Wells Fargo WFC is not yet accepting applications either.
Key background: The Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program is a key part of the economic stimulus package that allocates $349 billion for small businesses to access forgivable loans for payroll and overhead. The program will offer loans of up to $10 million at 1% interest to companies and nonprofits with fewer than 500 workers so they can cover two months of payroll and overhead expenses. If the borrower retains workers and doesn’t cut their wages, the government will forgive most or all of the loan and repay bank lenders.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.