Bankers Beseech Trump: Repair Small Business Rescue Plan

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Noah Wilcox, president of the Independent Community Bankers of America and CEO of Grand Rapids State Bank in Minnesota, told Trump that a third of community bankers still do not have access to the SBA system.

“This means that these community banks have been sidelined and unable to serve their communities and their customers,” he said.

The call provided more evidence that the unprecedented loan program was starting to move, just over a week after Congress created it as part of a record $ 2 trillion bailout package. to consolidate an economy that has already cut millions of jobs.

The problems fueled the anxiety of small businesses desperate to survive the country’s closure. Demand for loans was so high that the Trump administration announced on Tuesday that it was seeking an additional $ 250 billion to fund the effort. The Senate may propose this week to approve the new relief.

When called to the White House, Community Spirit Bank CEO Brad Bolton told Trump that many of his fellow bankers remain “outside, unable to access the SBA E-Tran system.” He urged Trump to deploy resources to ensure that every community bank can use it.

“Sir. President, I know you are solving the problems, ”he said. “No challenge is too great for your leadership. “

Trump said there were “a few problems – very few,” as he tried to focus on the success of the program.

The president said the SBA had processed more than $ 70 billion in loans, although the banks reported that they still did not have what the administration needed to actually finance borrowers.

“We’re going to run out of money soon enough, which is a good thing in this case, not a bad thing,” said Trump.

An SBA spokesperson said the agency had no further information to provide on concerns expressed by the banks during the meeting with Trump.

Banks have been mired in growing difficulties with the program as they try to issue loans.

The lenders lacked advice from the administration on how to proceed until the day before launch. Monday evening, the Treasury Department tried to answer several other pending questions from banks, including how to account for payroll taxes in loan applications.

But the banks said on Tuesday that they still did not have an SBA document template needed to close the loans, and some were unsure if they could proceed with their own customized version.

“It’s about the same as yesterday,” said Paul Merski, vice president of the Congressional Relations Group for the Independent Community Bankers of America. “They get a net of loans through the SBA process. “

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