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TD Bank sees ‘incredible demand’ for PPP loans as businesses wait for new financing

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Congressional leaders and White House officials are moving closer to a new round of funding to help those affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Chris Giamo, Head of Commercial Banking at TD Bank, joins Yahoo Finance to discuss.

Video transcript

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Leaders in Congress and the White House say they are, I quote, very close to signing a new round of relief funding aimed at helping millions of people affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Much of that, more money for small business and the payroll protection program, which we know ran out of money in the middle of last week.

I want to talk about it now with Chris Giamo. He runs the commercial bank of TD Bank. Hello, Chris. Thank you for being with us. First, where are your bank’s small business loans? Are you reviewing the applications? Has a business ever received money?

CHRIS GIAMO: Yeah, well, hello, and it’s good to be with you two this morning. So at TD Bank, like many banks, we have been very active in this important program and have really seen incredible demand from our customers, seeing an extraordinary number of requests. We are proud to have been able to secure financing for over 26,000 of our clients, being truly one of the top five banks in terms of clients reached through this program and one of the top 10 financing banks across the country.

BRIAN SOZZI: Chris, when you talk to these small businesses, what’s their plan to get back into business?

CHRIS GIAMO: You know, that’s a great question. This is something that we are really focused on. You know, we pride ourselves on giving our clients trusted advice. And this program, while essential, is only a measure. It’s a tool for them to kind of provide a gap before they can reopen. So I think it is essential that companies focus on their planning around this gradual reopening of the country and on how their companies are going to participate in it.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Chris, I’d like to hear your thoughts on some of the criticism this program has received, saying that a lot of big companies, the ones we wouldn’t consider small businesses, were getting some of the funding, including Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Shake Shack. They got a loan of $ 10 million. They came out this morning to say that they are going to return this money after a lot of criticism. But, you know, was it a loophole in the system here that allowed companies as large as these to get money from the small business loan program?

CHRIS GIAMO: You know, that’s a good question, and I think anytime you try to stand up for something so big and important in a quick period of time, there will always be unintended consequences.

I am thinking of two things. I think for the most part those dollars are going for their intended use, to keep wages open and keep people out of unemployment and just fill businesses for that two, three month period until they can. have a gradual reopening.

I think businesses have a certain responsibility to be good corporate citizens in this area and if they don’t need the money or if they haven’t necessarily been affected by this pandemic to the point where they need to government assistance, they really shouldn’t apply.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Also, we know Congress says it’s near another stimulus round here, and that stimulus round would be more relief for small businesses. What would be your message to lawmakers at this time? What would you like to see TD and other banks across the country see in this law?

CHRIS GIAMO: Well, I think it was a very important program, and like I said, I think it’s really a bridge for companies to come together until the reopening. So I think it’s extremely important.

I hope the program is reopened and paid off. And I think if they could avoid the complexities – you know, that, again, was put in place very quickly, and it took a while for the banks to organize themselves to handle these requests in volumes. that they were receiving. And any new additions or filters that go into the program could cause additional delays and complexities.

Most of the banks right now – like I said, we’re very proud to have reached a lot of our customers. We don’t want a customer to be left behind. And I think all organizations certainly have a backlog of applications that they would be prepared to deal with on an expedited basis if the program reopened in the same form it was launched.

BRIAN SOZZI: Chris, many sources I have spoken to suggest that even despite government help, we envision a potential wave of bankruptcies in many industries over the next two to three months. Do you see this when you talk to customers? Does this sound like an option?

CHRIS GIAMO: You know it’s probably too early to tell, but I would say a lot of these entrepreneurial businesses really aren’t built and they don’t have the track record to support 1/12 or 2/12 of their gross income for be either significantly impacted or, in some cases, disappear completely. So, you know, like I said earlier, this program and other state and local programs are going to be critical.

That being said, I think the business leaders themselves are going to have to really go into crisis management mode and see how they can take their businesses and pivot to be able to handle this in the short term but how they position themselves in the longer term. . But I think there will be a long economic impact on businesses, both commercially and on our consumers.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: All right, Chris Giamo, head of commercial banking at TD Bank, thank you for your time this morning. Good luck with the program.

CHRIS GIAMO: Thank you.


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