The Forum’s COVID Update: Issue #1

7 May 2020

Introducing the Forum’s COVID Update

On behalf of our nation’s largest financial institutions, the Financial Services Forum stands in solidarity with the millions of Americans who have been impacted by COVID-19.

Our priority, and singular focus, is supporting the wellbeing of the individuals, families, businesses, employees and communities that we serve. This COVID Update will provide the latest news on the steps our members are taking in response to this unprecedented global pandemic.

Delivering PPP Funds to Small Businesses

Forum member banks have distributed billions of dollars of financial support to small businesses impacted by COVID-19 through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) authorized by Congress.

Bank of America, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo have made or approved more than 700,000 PPP loans to small businesses, totaling nearly $73 billion.

A closer look reveals that these loans are reaching the small businesses Congress intended the program to help. More than half of the loans (53 percent) by Forum members are for small businesses with four employees or less. And nearly half (46 percent) of the loans are for less than $25,000 and nearly 80 percent are for less than $100,000.

Forum Spotlight: Citi Scales Up for PPP

Citibank typically serves its small business clients through its nearly 700 branches nationwide. But the pandemic compelled the bank to find a new solution as small businesses were forced to close down and seek assistance.

Citi launched a new digital portal in 3 weeks. They called it “Project 72” because they had 72 hours to design the roadmap, 72 hours to choose the platform, 72 hours to do the process mapping and 72 hours to secure legal and compliance reviews.

Citi has delivered billions of dollars in loans to small businesses across the country, including:

  • Dinah’s Chicken in Glendale, Calif., owner-operated by Linda and Dave Pearson and their family since it opened in 1967.
  • Skills for Chicagoland’s Future, a non-profit, public-private partnership dedicated to addressing unemployment – a mission more critical now than ever.
  • Osprey Seafood Market, a staple of the Napa, Calif., restaurant scene since 1977.
  • Comprehensive SpineCare, a medical practice that since 1996 has provided Orthopedic spine surgery for New Jersey’s Bergen County and the greater New York City area.

Forum Analysis: Unprecedented Q1 Business Lending

Reporting on Q1 has broadly shown that the impacts of COVID-19 took hold quickly at the end of the quarter, causing a 4.8 percent drop in GDP and a decline in year-over-year corporate revenue across the economy. However, we saw a bright spot in business lending, particularly from the nation’s largest banks, which increased their lending to businesses by roughly $272 billion (15 percent) in Q1.

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Why the outlier? As companies shut down operations, their financial obligations – to workers, creditors, suppliers and customers – continued. For example, a nearly $500,000 loan from JPMorgan Chase to J.B. Tile & Stone in Redwood City, Calif., allowed the family-owned company to continue supporting its 37 employees. Bank lending has helped businesses providing essential services to ramp-up production, retain and hire workers or invest in growth. Banks provided $3.58 billion in lending to Walgreens, which remains open to provide pharmaceuticals along with COVID testing in several states. – Sean Campbell, Forum Chief Economist, Head of Policy Research (More on the Banknotes Blog)

Forum Gives Back: Supporting Impacted Communities

Forum members have collectively committed over $985 million to support relief efforts in the communities they serve. This aid is helping communities increase medical response capacity, address food insecurity, increase access to education in the face of school closures, protect impacted small businesses and provide support to the world’s most vulnerable populations.

Financial support is being dispersed to a number of specific organizations and programs including the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Fund, the CDC Foundation, No Kid Hungry, Feeding America, National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Emergency Relief Fund, the International Medical Corps and several other community-specific groups.

Forum Spotlight: Morgan Stanley Commits $25 million to Relief Efforts

Forum member Morgan Stanley announced a new $15 million grant to support organizations fighting hunger as well as organizations focused on disease control, caring for the sick, and financial support for those most vulnerable in our communities who are struggling with the economic loss. Morgan Stanley’s COVID-19 Hunger Relief Campaign matches employee contributions up to $5,000 for critical food programs. The new grant is in addition to a previously announced $10 million commitment to support critical frontline medical responders globally and community providers. (More from Morgan Stanley)