Many Black-owned small businesses were denied during the first round of the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). According to Unidos US, only 8% of Black-owned businesses received the aid they requested during the first round. At the same time, many large companies were able to secure PPP loans, despite having the financial means to survive.
Customers Bank, however, is attempting to level the playing field. Customers Bank offers a PPP white-label solution that enables chambers of commerce and other financial institutions a seamless platform. This enables members of these organizations to access an online PPP application, funding, and servicing lifeline. This partnership creates a one-stop-shop for small businesses that couldn’t get funding in the first round of PPP.
Miguel Alban, senior vice president, and director of Multicultural Banking for Customers Bank, told Black Enterprise, “Unfortunately, last year, many minority small business owners were left out and were not able to secure a PPP loan. We at Customers Bank have a division that focuses on multicultural markets and we were able to help as many as we could, regardless if they were a current customer or not and regardless of the loan size.”
Misinformation, lack of information, and lack of capital have been major obstacles for Black-owned businesses during the pandemic. While this partnership provides a solution for these businesses, it will only work if people know about it.
Customers Bank, a top-5 ranked PPP lender, has participated in over 100,000 SBA-approved PPP loans with an aggregate value of over $5 billion. The bank also has the second-lowest average loan size of the nation’s major PPP lenders. This means many small businesses that couldn’t get loans with the big banks could get smaller loans through this partnership.
Alban added, “This time, we decided to take it one step further and partner with the organizations that serve these communities. These partnerships not only help us fulfill our mission as a community bank, but also plant the seeds for many more great things to come.”
Through the partnership, local institutions hope to help local small businesses to rebound during these tough economic times. Phil Andrews, president of the Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce — New York State’s largest African American chamber, which serves New York City, Long Island, and the downstate counties of Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester—wants to do just that.
In an email to Black Enterprise Andrews shared, “The second round of PPP loans serves as a lifeline for many African American businesses in our network and community that were adversely affected by the pandemic which highlighted many inequities. Our chamber is very fortunate to have formed a partnership with Customers Bank to streamline the process to apply for loans through its white-label program where Customers Bank will handle end-to-end processing, funding, and servicing, including forgiveness.”
Apply here for the Payroll Protection Program. The deadline is March 31, 2021.