Bank of America Changes Paycheck Protection Program Rules After Criticism

Bank of America changes its paycheck-protection-program rules after it faced criticism. It was the first major bank to open a portal for online applications and early responses online were not positive.
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Bank of America  (BAC) - Get Report faced criticism Friday for denying loan applications from certain people seeking to access the funds set aside by the government's Paycheck Protection Program.

Loan applicants complained on Twitter that people who hadn't already done business with Bank of America's small business operation were not eligible to apply.

Even some people who had done business with the bank's small business arm but did not have a small business credit card with the bank were denied. 

Bank of America ended up changing its position with Chief Executive Brian Moynihan telling CNBC Friday that applicants no longer needed an existing lending relationship with the bank to access the funds. 

The $350 billion program is a government-backed loan effort to help small businesses keep workers on the payroll. 

Access to the funds was supposed to go live nationwide at midnight Thursday. Bank of America was the first to open its online portal, at 9 a.m. Eastern Friday. 

The bank was the first of the U.S. big 4 -  (BAC) - Get Report, Wells Fargo  (WFC) - Get Report, JPMorgan Chase  (JPM) - Get Report and Citi  (C) - Get Report - to open its online portal to the public on Friday. 

Bank of America says that it has already received 60,000 applications with paycheck protection program loan requests totaling over $6 billion.

Meanwhile the U.S. Small Business Administration said that 5,218 loans valued at more than $1.8 billion had been received.

The money is part of the $2 trillion rescue package Congress passed last week in response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Bank of America first to open small-business-program portal