Finances and Taxes

How Fintechs Help Small Businesses Access PPP Funds

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Applications for PPP loans are open as of January 11, 2021.

The SBA portal will first be open to lenders who disburse PPP loans to underserved borrowers (like CDFIs, MDIs, and community lenders).

The portal will be open to community lenders for first-draw loans from January 11 – January 13 and second-draw loans on January 13.

The portal will open to all other lenders shortly after.

Other lenders may start to accept applications on January 11, but those applications won’t be processed until the SBA portal opens to all lenders.

When the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) launched under the CARES Act last spring, small business owners had high hopes. However, a few months in, it became apparent that many smaller businesses—particularly those owned by BIPOC business owners and businesses that operate in low-income areas—were denied loans. 

Smaller businesses face certain obstacles that may sometimes hinder loan approvals. For example, several big banks only work with existing customers or prioritize their bigger clients.

Fortunately, fintech companies have become a lifeline for many of these smaller businesses. Online lenders like Kabbage and Lendio are authorized to provide PPP loans and have been able to get millions of dollars to otherwise underbanked businesses. Fintech companies have proved significantly more effective in getting loans to businesses that have been denied by big banks. 

If you’ve struggled with accessing capital, it may be time to look into fintechs to get a PPP loan this time around. 

What is a fintech company?

Financial technology (fintech) describes technology or companies that automate and facilitate financial services. ​​​These entities help businesses and consumers manage their finances via software, devices, and algorithms. 

Fintech spans industries such as education, retail banking, investment management, and more. It can also refer to tools that digitize business finances, like small business lending, point-of-sale, or even payroll.

Role of fintechs during the COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 had an outsized impact on small firms and local businesses that were shuttered around the country by closure mandates. These are also the businesses that are often underserved by big banks due to their size and revenue—but they’re exactly the ones fintech lenders aim to support.

“Truly small businesses—those with 10 or fewer employees who represent 80% of all SMBs—are our specialty,” Kabbage co-founder Kathryn Petralia tells Forbes. “During the PPP we were one of the few lenders accepting applications for the self-employed.” 

Kabbage was the second largest PPP lender during the program’s first run.

What’s more, these lenders served a higher portion of minority business owners. A Kabbage and New York University report found the following:

“Small and medium banks accounted for roughly half of all loans with median loan values of $27,500 and $35,390, respectively. The larger banks made the majority of the remaining loans. Fintechs made 757,137 loans with a median value of $15,000. CDFIs, MDIs, and nonprofits jointly made 232,110 loans, with median values of around $21,000 each. Therefore, fintech lenders originated much smaller loans than other lenders, suggesting they served smaller firms on average.”

Report by Kabbage and NYU Stern: Which lenders had the highest minority share among
their Payment Protection Program (PPP) loans?

Many micro-businesses, BIPOC-owned businesses (meaning black, indigenous, and people of color), and self-employed individuals that were unable to secure PPP funds in the first round may consider applying through a participating fintech lender.

Fintech PPP lenders

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which was signed into law on December 27, 2020, revives the PPP with $284 billion in unused and new funds. Previous and first-time PPP applicants may be eligible for loans up to $2 million. 

Here, we’ll keep a running list of popular fintechs that participated in the first round of the PPP. While not all of these lenders are participating in the second round, here’s what we know so far (we’ll keep this list updated as more information comes in):

LenderParticipating in PPP?
Biz2credit Yes
BlueVine Yes
Brex + WomplyYes
Credibly Not sure yet
Cross River Bank Yes
Divvy Yes
FundboxNot participating in PPP (but you have other lending options through this fintech) 
Fundera Yes
Funding Circle Yes
Intuit(Quickbooks)Not participating in PPP (but you have other lending options through this fintech) 
Kabbage Not sure yet
Lendio Yes
NAV Not sure yet
OnDeck Not participating in PPP (but you have other lending options through this fintech) 
Paypal Not sure yet
Ready CapitalYes
SOFI lanternYes
Square Not participating in PPP (but you have other lending options through this fintech) 
Veem Not sure yet

For a more complete list of PPP round 2 lenders (that includes non-fintech lenders) see this list

More borrowing options for small business owners

If a PPP loan simply isn’t right for your business, keep in mind that the PPP is not the only loan program that was funded by the new bill, so if this program isn’t right for you, be sure to check out these other COVID-19 small business loan options. You can try other SBA loans, the EIDL, or community lenders like CDFIs and MDIs

We’ll continue to keep you updated as more information about COVID-19 relief programs comes in. 

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Updated: January 11, 2021

Gusto Editors
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