By Holden Wilen

Reporter, Baltimore Business Journal

Banks across Greater Baltimore will participate in the next round of the federal Paycheck Protection Program when the U.S. Small Business Administration begins accepting applications from all lenders again on Jan. 19.

The latest federal stimulus package passed in December included $284 billion to restart PPP, a highly popular Covid-19 relief program created last that year that provided $659 billion in forgivable loans to businesses across the U.S. Businesses with 300 employees or fewer that received a loan last year will be able to get a second one if they can show a 25% reduction in revenue during any quarter of 2020.

The SBA began a phased reopening this week that began with community financial institutions. Lenders with $1 billion or less in assets could begin submitting applications to the SBA for first- and second-draw loans on Friday. First-draw refers to a first-time PPP loan while second-draw means a company previously received a PPP loan.

With the SBA’s portal reopening this week to all lenders, the Baltimore Business Journal reached out to the region’s biggest banks to find out if they will participate. All the banks that responded to the BBJ’s inquiry said they will participate.

Like last time, many plan to focus on their existing customers. That approach caused unbanked small businesses, many of which are minority-owned, to be left behind.

Overall in Greater Baltimore, 446 lenders received approval for 39,993 loans totaling $4.9 billon last year. The average loan was $123,245. About $10 billion was doled out across Maryland.

Broadly speaking, bankers said they expect demand for PPP loans to be high but not as high as last year.

“Some of these businesses that were severely impacted back in March have pivoted or reinvented themselves,” said Robert Kunisch, president of Howard Bank. “There is much more clarity than we had before.”

Kunisch and other bankers said they expect demand to be highest among restaurants and hotels, which continue to be hit hardest by the pandemic.

As they get set to begin accepting applications again, bankers also said they feel more prepared than they did last year. In the mad rush to process applications as quickly as possible last year, many bankers found themselves working into the early hours of the next morning. They also had to deal with almost constantly changing guidance from the SBA and U.S. Treasury Department.

Now, bankers said they have streamlined processes in place and much clearer guidance from the federal government. Augie Chiasera, president of the Greater Baltimore-Chesapeake region for M&T Bank, said the Buffalo-based bank has allocated employees to staff up what will be a “PPP factory.”

“We’ve gone through the process once. We’ve learned a lot and our clients have learned a lot about how that process works,” Chiasera said. “We feel much better prepared going into this round of PPP than we did last time because we know a lot more about how to interface with the SBA and what kind of questions our clients need to answer.”

Harford Bank began submitting applications to the SBA on Friday because it has less than $1 billion in assets. President Michael F. Allen said it is hard to predict what demand will be like.

“Applications have been steady, maybe a bit less than during the comparable period last spring,” he said. “We would expect that, though – some of our first-round customers performed pretty well last year and won’t need or qualify for this round.”

Allen also said he worries about his team because “PPP fatigue is real.”

“We have assigned a few more people to this effort, so I’m hoping that will prevent the 24-hour scramble we experienced last year,” Allen said. “I’m proud to say that they continue to be energized by those businesses that really need this money, though. This has always felt like a cause with a higher purpose.”

Here’s a rundown of which banks are participating. This is not a comprehensive list. The banks are listed in descending order by their local deposit market share based on June 30 data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Local PPP loan totals include those given to borrowers in Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Cecil, Harford and Howard counties.

Bank of America

Local deposits: $28.6 billion

Local PPP loans in 2020: 5,619

Charlotte-based Bank of America, the dominant bank in the Greater Baltimore market, confirmed its participation in the next round of PPP. A spokesman would not say which customers will be eligible to submit applications to the bank.

M&T Bank

Local deposits: $20 billion

Local PPP loans in 2020: 5,978

Chiasera said the Buffalo-based bank will open its application portal to existing lending and deposit-only customers. Initially the portal will only be open to first-draw applicants, with applications being accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. He said he expects the portal to eventually open up to second-draw applicants as well.

PNC Bank

Local deposits: $9.67 billion

Local PPP loans in 2020: 2,862

Pittsburgh-based PNC will accept applications from eligible small business clients that have a PNC business checking, deposit or lending relationship. Customers do not have to have received a first-round loan from PNC.

Truist Bank

Local deposits: $9.41 billion

Local PPP loans in 2020: 2,619

Eligible Truist clients who are interested in applying for PPP loan may register their emails on the bank’s website. Once the bank begins accepting applications, clients who have registered will be notified via email and invited to apply. Truist expects its application process “to begin in the next few weeks.”

Wells Fargo

Local deposits: $8.73 billion

Local PPP loans in 2020: 1,655

Wells Fargo will accept applications next week and said it will provide updated information as it becomes available. All PPP loan applicants must have an eligible Wells Fargo business checking account that was opened on or before Dec. 1, 2020.

Sandy Spring Bank

Local deposits: $2.05 billion

Local PPP loans in 2020: 1,426

Chief Credit Officer Ronda McDowell said the bank will accept applications from existing business clients only “due to the expected volume of requests.”

First National Bank of Pennsylvania

Local deposits: $1.86 billion

Local PPP loans in 2020: 1,503

A spokeswoman for FNB said the bank will open its portal to customers and businesses that have an existing relationship. Businesses who are not currently FNB customers who have questions about the latest round of PPP are encouraged to contact the bank.

Howard Bank

Local deposits: $1.73 billion

Local PPP loans in 2020: 960

President Rob Kunisch said the Baltimore-based bank will focus on existing clients. He expects demand to be highest from businesses in the most severely impacted industries.

Capital One

Local deposits: $1.57 billion

Local PPP loans in 2020: 391

Capital One will accept PPP applications from customers with a business checking or savings account as of Oct. 1, 2020. If customers would like to express interest in applying, they should log into their Capital One bank account and click on the “Contact me” button when they receive the Paycheck Protection Program message. The bank will email customers who expressed interest when it begins accepting applications on Tuesday.

CFG Bank

Local deposits: $1.42 billion

Local PPP loans in 2020: 88

The bank will accept applications from existing clients. Though CFG expects this new round “will be a bit different due to the new requirements,” the bank is “still expecting a surge in applications.”

Fulton Bank

Local deposits: $1.32 billion

Local PPP loans in 2020: 892

Fulton Bank will participate in the second round of PPP and its main focus will be on serving existing customers. The bank anticipates that the demand will be about the same as it was in the first round.

Rosedale Federal Savings & Loan Association

Local deposits: $750.7 million

Local PPP loans in 2020: 892

CEO Kevin Benson said the bank will again participate in PPP and accept applications from both existing and non-existing clients in the Baltimore area. Prior to last year, Rosedale Federal was not an SBA lender. The new business from PPP loans helped propel Rosedale Federal past $1 billion in assets.

Shore United Bank

Local deposits: $540.56 million

Local PPP loans in 2020: 191

Michael Cavey, executive vice president and senior lending office, said the bank will accept applications from current customers and potentially begin taking on new clients later. As for demand, Cavey said a consultant advised the bank to expect about a third to half as many applications as it did in the first round. Cavey estimates the bank will receive between 500 and 750 applications, with most being for second-draw loans. He said he “would be surprised if” the bank received more than 200 applications for first-draw PPP loans.

TD Bank

Local deposits: $467.68 million

Local PPP loans in 2020: 295

TD Bank, the U.S. subsidiary of Toronto’s TD Bank Group, is one of the biggest financial institutions in the U.S. The bank will accept applications from existing TD business customers.

Orrstown Bank

Local deposits: $399.57 million

Local PPP loans in 2020: 575

Orrstown has already begun preparing applications so it can submit them quickly when the SBA portal opens, Maryland Market President Christopher D. Holt said. The bank will work with both existing and new clients. Holt said the bank has already seen “significant demand” for the program.

Harford Bank

Local deposits: $361.55 million

Local PPP loans in 2020: 879

President Michael F. Allen said the bank is accepting applications from “everyone in our broader market, customers or non-customers.” Harford Bank began submitting applications on Friday.