The COVID-19 pandemic has turned out bad for most businesses, but the mom-and-pop stores that dot the nation’s shopping landscape have suffered tremendously, for lack of the bigger coffers that have helped businesses stay afloat during the epidemic.
Zions Bancorporation of Utah, a banking holding company that manages affiliated banks in 11 states in the western United States, mitigated the blow by rapidly digitizing the process by which small businesses could apply for federal loans offered in pandemic response. Until 2020, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has helped process nearly 48,000 loans totaling $ 6.9 billion, according to Ken Collins, executive director of portfolio management, who oversaw the program for Zions, which manages nearly $ 82 billion in assets.
âIt was extremely critical to come up with a simple, digitized solution that allowed small business clients to apply and get their funds quickly,â Collins says of PPP, which won a 2021 CIO 100 award for innovation.
Zions’ PPP service came in response to the passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), a $ 2.2 trillion economic stimulus bill passed in March 2020. The bill included the $ 349 billion emergency PPP loan program, in which the Small Business Administration (SBA) issued forgivable loans of up to $ 10 million to relieve small businesses in financial distress. Banks and credit unions were responsible for administering funds at the local level.