Executive Letter: As PPP Ends, Banking Priorities Remain

By Rose Oswald Poels

Nearly a month before the extended deadline, the Small Business Administration (SBA) announced last week that Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding has depleted with the exception of minority depository institutions (MDIs) and community development financial institutions (CDFIs). I thank all of you and every member of this industry for the long nights and weekends that have been dedicated during the past fourteen months to get information into a system that underwent regular changes. Eighty percent of loans in Wisconsin were made by banks, and it goes without saying that you were on the economic frontlines of the crisis from the very beginning. As we move forward, we continue to address the many other priorities that banks are facing.

With the amount of work that went into the success of these loans and the PPP portal now closed, it seems hard to believe that there are other priorities that WBA and Wisconsin banks are focused on. During Tuesday’s 2021 Capitol Day, WBA’s Assistant Director of Government Affairs John Cronin and I detailed a few of these priorities that are currently being addressed. From supporting elder fraud prevention legislation in the form of Assembly Bills 45 and 46 (which the State Assembly passed Tuesday), to supporting pro-agriculture tax change through ECORA, to opposing interchange fees, our industry faces many unique legislative challenges in our mission to assist banks and their communities.

I’d like to thank DFI Secretary Kathy Blumenfeld, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, Sen. Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, and Government Relations Chair Tom Mews for their participation in the success of this year’s Capitol Day. We look forward to Phase 2 of Capitol Day as you continue your conversations virtually with legislators on these key issues and appreciate the time and effort toward making a strong and significant impact. For more information on how you can help make a difference in the industry or more information on these priorities, please email John Cronin.

As we engage in these new priorities, we do realize that many of you are still completing the final processes of your work with PPP applications. Remember that if you have any loan applications with a loan application number that still have a hold for some underwriting reason, you should contact your regional SBA office to complete the process. Some lenders in this situation have reported being locked out of the portal and should still contact SBA.

Although most of the MDIs and CDFIs in Wisconsin have either never accepted or no longer accept PPP applications, WBA’s legal team has also arranged a list of CDFIs that have yet to respond detailing their current acceptance status. This may be helpful for applications that have not yet received an SBA loan number and have therefore not been processed. This list is designed only to clarify which institutions may potentially still be of assistance and should not be considered a definite resource for lenders. We will provide further updates as they become available. For any further questions on the depletion of funds or for this current list of Wisconsin MDIs and CDFIs, please contact wbalegal@wisbank.com.

Through PPP, legislative priorities, and everything in between, thank you for all that you do for the industry and your community. Every day offers a new set of challenges, and it is bankers like you that are making all the difference.