- By Native News Online Staff
SAN FRANCISCO — Banks nationwide struggled to meet the surging demand from small businesses trying to apply for loans and grants under the $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
Wells Fargo & Co., one of the largest national lenders that serves Indian Country, was among those saying they weren’t ready for the crush of applications and were grappling with lack of detailed guidelines from the government, according to Bloomberg News.
As the day progressed, the San Francisco-based bank urged small business clients, including Native-owned small businesses, to use its online portal to file PPP loan applications.
Wells Fargo sent the following statement to Native News Online this afternoon:
“Our customers are experiencing challenges during the COVID-19 crisis and we want to help during these unprecedented times. Wells Fargo is working as quickly as possible to be ready to assist small business customers as part of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). We will update our Paycheck Protection Program website as soon as possible, so we encourage customers to check our website often. Applications will only be accepted via our online portal to ensure our small business customers get the support they need as quickly as possible.”
A core aspect of the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus relief package, the Paycheck Protection Program allocates $349 billion to the U.S. Small Business Administration to loan to businesses with fewer than 500 employees. The loans provide 2.5 times a company’s average monthly payroll and SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.
Wells Fargo has long standing relationships with tribal governments and American Indian/Alaska Native customers. In 2017, the banking company announced a five year, $50 million commitment to AI/AN communities to help address their unique economic, social and environmental needs.
Support Independent Indigenous Journalism
Native News Online is an independent, Indigenous-led newsroom with a crucial mission: We want to change the narrative about Indian Country. We do this by producing intelligent, fact-based journalism that tells the full story from all corners of Indian Country. We pride ourselves on covering the tribes you may have never heard of before and by respecting and listening to the communities we serve through our reporting. As newsrooms across the country continue to shrink, coverage of Indian Country is more important than ever, and we are committed to filling this ever-present hole in journalism.
Because we believe everyone in Indian Country deserves equal access to news and commentary pertaining to them, their relatives and their communities, the story you’ve just finished was free — and we want to keep it that way, for all readers. But we hope it inspires you to make a gift to Native News Online so that we can continue publishing more stories that make a difference to Native people, whether they live on or off the reservation. Your donation will help us keep producing quality journalism and elevating Indigenous voices. Any contribution of any amount, big or small, gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.