Local Banks Helping Local Businesses

May 8, 2020

More than 20,000 loans in the Paycheck Protection Program have been approved for Hawaii and local banks were on the frontlines of making them happen.

A central aspect of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program has been that banks would be on the frontlines of processing the loans and dispersing the funds. American Savings Bank and Central Pacific Bank gave PBN the inside story of their experience in this role. They each had a matter of days to prepare for the onslaught of applications when the SBA portal opened April 3rd.

CPB detailed 220 employees to the task, many working from home and who needed to be trained to work outside their usual area. CPB structured itself into five teams to handle every step of a process that included receiving applications through the bank’s own portal, processing them, then manually submitting those applications to the SBA portal. ASB went with a three-team approach, also with all hands on deck.

Both found the SBA portal to be their biggest challenge. As first, it would take a bank employee 20 to 30 minutes just to fill out the online form, though they cut that in half with experience. Details of the program would change by the day, sometimes by the hour, and bank staff would see the form change even as they were filling it out.

For local banks, this has meant long nights, with even the C-suite rolling up their sleeves. This was due not only to the workload, but to stand a fighting chance of securing loans against Mainland banks with a six-hour head start on deadlines tied to Eastern Standard Time.