CBA recognizes role that banks played in helping consumers, business get through pandemic

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On the one-year anniversary of the passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the head of the Consumer Bankers Association is acknowledging the role the industry has played during this period of financial hardship for consumers and small businesses.

“Over the past year, banks across the country have moved heaven and earth to support the American people. When COVID-19 first hit our communities, the nation’s banks immediately mobilized assistance programs and were eager to implement pending federal programs included in the CARES Act. Once the bill was signed into law, banks stepped up to serve as a source of strength and took on the herculean task of distributing hundreds of billions of dollars of vital assistance to small businesses and consumers through the Paycheck Protection Program and the delivery of Economic Impact Payments,” CBA President and CEO Richard Hunt said.

Hunt pointed out that the banking industry, working with the Small Business Administration, made more than two decades’ worth of SBA loans in a matter of months.

“Some banks dedicated more than one-third of their entire workforce with nearly every banker working around the clock to process applications and deliver much-needed assistance – all while overcoming crippling technical issues and unclear, missing and ever-evolving guidance throughout the program,” Hunt said.

Banks also served as advocates for small businesses, Hunt said, pushing to streamline the overly complicated application process for PPP loan forgiveness. This effort led Congress to simplify the forgiveness process for loans less than $150,000. That amounted to the equivalent of $7 billion of additional small business relief.

“Despite many of the challenges tied to the CARES Act, I believe this past year will be remembered as one of the finest chapters written in the book of American banking,” Hunt said. “CBA is proud of the industry’s unwavering commitment to championing these vital programs and overcoming hurdles along the way. Banks will continue working to get Americans back on their feet and the economy back on track as we inch closer to reaching the other side of this pandemic.”

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