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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.

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Native News Online Staff
Author: Native News Online Staff