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Although banks across the United States have

To approve more loans for small businesses, Atlantic Union Bank, headquartered in Richmond, says they have made a lot of progress.

The federal government approved $ 310 billion in additional loans through the SBA, but banking industry groups said on Tuesday that the SBA’s loan processing system was still unable to handle the large volume loan applications from business owners trying to get help under the Paycheck Protection Program.

At 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Atlantic Union Bank said it had processed 3,231 P3 requests, for a total of $ 288,917,484, within 48 hours of the opening of the second round of funding.

They said they anticipate by the end of the day that they will have secured PPP funding from the SBA for more than 10,000 applications totaling approximately $ 1.7 billion, with the first and two funding rounds combined. .

As of Tuesday afternoon, the SBA said about 476,000 loans had been approved for a total of more than $ 52 billion. President Trump said most of the loans approved were for smaller amounts, indicating that the loans were going to smaller businesses. The average loan during the first round of funding was $ 206,000.

Atlantic Union attributes its success with the program, despite problems encountered elsewhere, to its “hard-working employees, its ability to rapidly develop new technologies to process SBA PPP loans, and its blend of automated and manual processing. requests ”.

Atlantic Union Bank is also one of the few banks to accept applications from new customers in the second round of PPP funding, while most banks strive to secure loans for companies that applied in the first round. but were unable to secure funding.

“We work around the clock to make sure our clients get the money they need, as well as to open loan applications to new clients who missed the opportunity in the first round of loans,” said John Asbury. , CEO and Chairman of Atlantic Union Bankshares. “We were able to process the applications quickly during this second round for various reasons. First, our employees have been extremely dedicated and our team has developed, learned and continued to perfect a new technological system in record time. We also never stopped receiving inquiries after the first round had closed, as we were hoping that a second round of funding would take place. While there were some challenges with the SBA technology on Monday, we quickly adjusted our approach to working with the SBA, remained dedicated, and continued with the process to secure funding for every possible client.

The loans are aimed at helping small businesses keep their workers or rehire those they laid off in response to the virus outbreak. Any loan money used for payroll will be canceled. Restaurants, retailers, gyms and other businesses have been forced to close in an attempt to contain the spread of the virus, and other businesses have seen their revenues plummet as customers stay at home or cut spending.

The SBA did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday on the delays. But in a note the agency sent to banks at noon on Tuesday and obtained by the Associated Press, the SBA said it would prevent banks from using a system that automatically submits claims into the ETran system. agency. Without this system, “the loan processing system will be more reliable, accessible and fair for all businesses,” the memo said.

At some banks, the change involves manually submitting requests, a much slower process, said Nick Simpson, spokesperson for the Consumer Bankers Association. Others are able to submit claims in batches of over 5,000, but it was unclear how or when the SBA would process them, he said.

The first $ 349 billion round of financing was used up in less than two weeks. During this cycle, banks indicated that they were only allowed to submit 350 requests per hour, if not a lot. In the meantime, they have thousands on hand.

“I don’t know of any bank that hits 350 per hour,” said Richard Hunt, president of the Consumer Bankers Association. He said there appeared to be technical issues at the SBA similar to those that delayed processing early in the first round of funding.

The Treasury, which oversees the lending program, has been criticized for allowing large state-owned companies to obtain loans, some of which have been repaid. Speaking at Tuesday’s press conference, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said any loan approved for more than $ 2 billion would go through SBA review before being paid.

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The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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