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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Jun. 18, 202005:10 AM EST

BBVA Market CEO talks PPP lending as deadline nears

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Nelson Bradshaw expects a few more applications to trickle in.
by: Katie Garwood Staff Writer

At BBVA USA branches in Northeast Florida, Paycheck Protection Program applications are slowing down ahead of the June 30 application deadline. 

With new rules for the loans, BBVA North Florida Market CEO Nelson Bradshaw said he expects a few more applications to trickle in.

The changes, which took effect June 5, allow greater flexibility for borrowers. Only 60% of the funds must be used for payroll rather than 75%; borrowers have 24 weeks to use the funds instead of eight; businesses have until Dec. 31 to rehire employees; and businesses have five years to repay the loans, up from two years in the previous rules. 

“I think some businesses that didn’t apply initially, that were concerned about the eight weeks just being too quick, they weren’t ready to bring folks back yet, that they might do that now,” Bradshaw said.

Otherwise, applications for the program “have dramatically slowed down” since the program opened April 3. Bradshaw doesn’t keep track of how many applications BBVA receives in each market, but nationally, it funded $3.3 billion in loans and got about 22,000 applications. The average loan amount was $149,000. 

BBVA has 25 branches in Northeast Florida. Bradshaw said those branches saw “a healthy number” of applicants.

The bank took employees from across the Northeast Florida market to process applications. It started disbursing funds the Monday after the program began. 

The bank did minimal “normal banking activities” to make sure PPP funds were distributed quickly.

“We built a factory of sorts, because we knew how important it was for these small businesses to get these funds as quickly as possible,” he said. 

At first, the program’s rules and guidelines were challenging to understand, he said, but that is to be expected with a program that rolled out so quickly. 

Bradshaw said the PPP was “a good example of where government could make a difference.”

“It helped us by helping us keep our clients open and be able to give them some breathing room to reassess a game plan for how to be successful in the new environment.”

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