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I was one of the self-deluded dupes who applied for first-round SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for my business through Chase. Many others that applied at the major banks were similarly disregarded by their bank, with no few to no status updates and never submitted to the SBA.
My business banking is with Chase so I figured that would smooth the process. As well, Chase had a large proportion of initial PPP funds to distribute. Many other banks wanted some form of an existing business relationship, while others were not set up for applications until later.
My Chase timeline is comically sad, read for your entertainment pleasure:
- 4/2 and subsequent days filled out the Chase interest form.
- 4/6 applied immediately after Chase opened applications.
- 4/7 midnight received a Chase application number.
- Intervening days attempts to contact Chase branch bankers, they were unable to get any information other than one day ‘there is still money’ to the next day ‘there is no money’.
- 4/17 announcement from Chase that the money is gone.
- 4/19 notice from Chase that my application has gone from Stage 1 ‘Application’ to Stage 2 ‘Payroll Review’.
- 4/22 announcement from Chase that if you are not in Stage 3 ‘Awaiting SBA Approval’ you better find a new bank, “As soon as the SBA gives the green light, we’ll begin submitting applications from our queue starting with the many small business owners in Stage 3 – Awaiting SBA approval. You should have received an email with your updated status earlier this week. I wish we could help every business through this program, but it is likely funds will run out quickly for this round. You should take appropriate steps for your business.”
- 4/23 notice from Chase that additional documentation is needed and I need to reapply, though I won’t lose my place in the queue.
- 4/25 notice from Chase that my re-application has been received.
- And nothing since.
Angry at Myself:
My anger was mainly directed at myself, not Chase. Everything I knew from miles and points I did not apply to PPP.
I foolishly trusted a major bank that doesn’t give a jot about my small business.
I did not connect the dots that the ‘first come, first serve’ was to how SBA would process applications it received from lenders and not any requirement (that I am aware) for the lenders to submit to the SBA based on when they received applications. Lenders moved the customers they value to the front of their submission queue.
I continued to wait on that bank without trying every alternative. I procrastinated on my taxes so I didn’t have all the potential documentation ready when the interim rule was announced by the SBA.
I got my taxes ready (single-member LLC the key document is 2019 Schedule C).
I got my documentation in order. Check images, 1099s, bank statements (I found that Chase business checking doesn’t even provide an annual summary so I had to stitch together 12 months of statements).
I found this Forbes list of non-bank lenders accepting PPP applications and worked through the list.
Turns out the first was the winner for me: BlueVine.
I had never heard of BlueVine. I won’t forget them.
My BlueVine timeline:
- 4/27 10:14 pm received email to activate my account and finish the application, which I did within 5 minutes.
- 4/27 10:34 pm received email that my application had been submitted to the SBA. I did not believe this. In less than 20 minutes BlueVine had reviewed my application and submitted to the SBA. Something Chase did not do for weeks.
- 4/28 9:27 pm received email that SBA had approved my loan, to log in to accept, which I did immediately.
- 4/28 9:34 pm received email with my DocuSign completed loan documents.
- 4/29 6:31 am received email that funds are on the way.
Today I shared with several business owners. One applied this morning and already is approved.
I received one trusted report of success with Kabbage from 4/25.
Readers, contribute your data points.
My understanding of this process is that you are not beholden to wait on a lender that may never move on your application.
The limitation is one loan per business. If you are approved by one lender, then any subsequently approved need to be turned down. The SBA system might block multiple loan requests for the same EIN so I’m not sure multiple can event get approved for an EIN.
Good luck to fellow business owners!