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Bank executives sought guidance on small business loan program from Ivanka Trump: report

Bank executives sought guidance on small business loan program from Ivanka Trump: report
© Greg Nash

Bank executives who were concerned about the $349 billion emergency small business program created in the $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill passed last week reached out to President TrumpDonald John TrumpVenezuela judge orders prison time for 6 American oil executives Trump says he'll leave White House if Biden declared winner of Electoral College The Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation MORE’s daughter and senior adviser Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - COVID-19 fears surround Thanksgiving holiday Women set to take key roles in Biden administration New York expands Trump tax fraud investigations to include write-offs: report MORE as they tried to negotiate higher interest rates, according to Bloomberg.

The calls came from multiple major bank executives, including from Bank of America Corp., who questioned the Paycheck Protection Program, which provides generous loans to small businesses with the caveat that they use at least 75 percent to pay their employees. 

As a result of those negotiations, Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOn The Money: Initial jobless claims rise for 2nd week | Dow dips below 30K | Mnuchin draws fire for COVID-19 relief move | Manhattan DA appeals dismissal of Manafort charges Mnuchin to put 5B in COVID-19 relief funds beyond successor's reach The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump OKs transition; Biden taps Treasury, State experience MORE and other administration officials requested to increase the interest rates on the forgivable, government-backed loans, and worked to encourage smaller banks to participate, as well.

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Mnuchin announced Thursday that the Treasury Department would cut interest rates in half in an effort to convince those smaller banks to participate and alleviate the load from major lenders. 

“I’ve told these bankers they should take all their traders and put them in the branches. There’ll never be another opportunity to earn five points on a 90-day fully government-guaranteed loan,” Mnuchin said on Thursday. “To make this attractive for community banks, we’ve agreed to raise the interest rate.”

The new program was off to a rough start this week as banks and other lenders said the $349 billion program lacks clear guidelines to handle a looming wave of loan applications that could overwhelm the system while leaving some firms in the lurch.