Main Street Bank Handles Nearly 500 PPP Loans in 5 Days Using Abrigo’s Sageworks SBA Lending Solution
Automating PPP Lending with Sageworks SBA Solution
When the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) was signed into law, it included $349 billion for an expanded Small Business Administration (SBA) 7(a) loan program, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which was designed to get working capital to small businesses and fund payroll costs. The PPP has been a fast-moving target for financial institutions trying to implement it. Continuous updates and guidance changes have left many financial institutions scrambling or not participating at all. Some institutions, however, have risen to the challenge of supporting their local small businesses and have found a partner to help navigate the ever-changing program.
After learning Abrigo had modified its Sageworks SBA Lending solution to be able to handle PPP loans four days after the CARES Act was signed into law, Robert Sousa, Lead Credit Analyst at Main Street Bank, met with other members of the bank, including Chris Berglund, Chief Lending Officer, and Walter Dwyer, CEO, and they immediately decided to jump at the opportunity. “We decided at that moment we needed some sort of solution for our customers because we were already getting inundated with paper applications, so we knew it needed to happen.” Three days later, the Marlborough, Massachusetts, bank had implemented the Sageworks SBA Lending solution, and was able to begin working through a flood of applications to help get capital to local small businesses quickly.
Getting up and running quickly
Sousa said one of the selling points of the Sageworks SBA Lending solution was the ability to get the product up and running quickly. “The support and product team had said that the SBA product was an out-of-the-box solution, and I’d agree with that,” Sousa said. Other than a few tactical tweaks, Sousa said that the bank didn’t have to do any configuration to get the solution running.
Of course, the initial process was hectic, especially considering that the final rule was issued just hours before the program launched on April 3. “It was a struggle at the start, but Abrigo was helpful at communicating the issues and the updates that were being implemented, and they really listened to our feedback and the things we were experiencing,” said Sousa. The bank decided to ease into their new product before opening applications to the public. Saturday, the bank used the solution to work through an application from one applicant, walking through each step to determine all of the questions and issues other applicants may have. Then, the bank used the solution for another applicant, who filled out the application with a senior lender over the phone. “As he was going through it, he was like, ‘Okay yeah, this makes sense,’ and that’s when we decided to open it up,” Sousa said. Main Street Bank went from having no automated solution for PPP loans, to implementing the Sageworks SBA Lending solution in three days, and then handling nearly 500 loans just five days after implementation. “I don’t know what we would have done without it,” said Chris Berglund, Chief Lending Officer at Main Street Bank. “The centralized application really helped us get – and stay – organized.”
In addition to having a solution to streamline the process, Main Street Bank also benefited by structuring its team to manage the volume of applications efficiently. “We have this hesitancy as community banks to not want to silo people and everyone wears multiple hats. But to make this process easier, we started siloing people,” Sousa explained. “We have one person managing all of the documents and emails coming in. Then, we have a credit analyst on the phone fielding calls from customers and answering technical questions, and I am supporting loan officers. Anything you can do to support your loan officers right now – anything you can do to give them more time to get these applications done and processed, the better off you’ll be.” The bank took an all-hands-on-deck approach to process applications and reach out to customers, assigning roles based on strengths, while also keeping other areas of the bank running business as usual. Sousa credits “a great system and a great team” to enable the bank to tackle the PPP loans expeditiously.