The Paycheck Protection Program (or "PPP") was established as part of the CARES Act on Friday, March 27, 2020. It is administered by the SBA (Small Business Administration) and Treasury Department to provide small businesses funds to primarily maintain their payroll during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. On Sunday, two days after the bill was signed, Aspiri Consulting was engaged by a mid-sized bank to lead their roll-out of the PPP.
The SBA and Treasury Department announced banks would begin accepting applications less than 7 days after the bill was signed. To meet this goal, the bank had to rapidly design, build and deploy the technology, process, and people to deliver on this aggressive timeline and urgent need to support small businesses and their employees.
We kicked-off the program with three guiding principles:
Keep it simple - Given the speed, we are designing for a minimal viable product not perfection.
Common where possible; custom where needed - Minimize exceptions and extra work.
Iterate as we go - We can't wait until we have all the answers as revised customer applications, frequent Interim Final Rules (IFRs), and new FAQs were being issued by the SBA and Treasury almost on a daily basis.
We quickly formed a governance model including key sponsors from Credit, Operations, and Sales, arranged two-a-day leadership Zoom meetings, and allocated resources. This allowed us to make key strategic decisions quickly including the selection of a technology platform, engagement of an integration partner, and the deployment of a solution in only 2 days. Through sound program discipline, key pipeline metrics tracking, hard work, and long hours, the team exceeded the bank's initial measures of success.
In only 26 days, the bank secured $800 million in SBA funds for 3,138 small businesses to save some 96,000 jobs! One customer commented, "I can't thank you enough - this has very likely saved our business. I know it sounds cliché, but it is the honest truth. Wayne and I have gone 2 months without pay because we’re trying to keep enough money to pay the employees sticking with us. This will keep us going as the government allows restaurants to re-open and bring sales back."
"We are honored to have played a small part in these important efforts to provide much needed financial relief and assistance to small businesses in this time of need," said Troy Edelen, CEO & Founder of Aspiri Consulting, Inc.