Cross River Bank, in Fort Lee, N.J., is not known to many, but hundreds of thousands of small businesses will remember it for holding the fort amid the 2020 Covid-19 Pandemic.
The small New Jersey headquartered bank founded by Gilles Gade did a remarkable job than all (but three of US’ largest commercial lenders) in distributing the federal PPP loan.
The Paycheck Protection Program was a multibillion relief funding program passed under the CARES Act at the beginning of Covid-19.
It was meant to help small businesses weather the effects of the global crisis. Sadly, its disbursement has since been plagued by challenges as small businesses complain of difficulties getting access to the loans.
But Cross River Bank was busy disbursing as other lenders were playing “hard to get” and has so far distributed funds to more than 106,000 small businesses. That performance places it fourth after the three large banking institutions, namely Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo.
It is also a performance worth a headline coming from a single-branch bank with only some few billion dollars in assets. Cross River best fits the definition of a community bank.
For a decade, the small business lender has positioned itself as the bank for fintech startups like Affirm and Upgrade & Upstart, looking to disrupt the world of finance.
So in the heat of the pandemic, Cross River Bank stood out as one of the fastest ways to get a PPP loan. It partnered with fintechs to attract and fund borrowers who were rejected by giant banks.
“This is in our DNA,” said Gilles Gade, CEO, and Founder of Cross River Bank. “It’s exactly what we were built for.”
Though the firm is used to high-volume, low-dollar lending, the PPP program presented a new opportunity. Cross River Banks platform received applications from more than 30 lenders, including big players like Kabbage, a small business lender, and Intuit (responsible for QuickBooks).
Other small businesses borrowed via Divvy and Womply, who also wanted to give their clients access to the PPP loans.
Even though the typical PPP loan is approximately $111,000, Cross River gave smaller amounts, averagely $44,000, the least of the 15 top lenders, according to the SBA (Small Business Administration), the program’s supervisor.
Still, Cross River Bank small loans added up to a whopping $4.7 billion — nearly doubling what it had in assets three months earlier.
Cross River Bank deserves a pat on the back and a spot in the market for its excellent work. Small businesses must seek to work with such lenders who prioritize their needs even during desperate times.
Author Bio:- Michael Hollis is a Detroit native who now lives in Los Angeles. He is an account executive who has helped hundreds of business owners with their merchant loans for startups. He’s experimented with various occupations: computer programming, dog-training, scientificating… But his favorite job is the one he’s now doing full time — providing business funding for hard working business owners across the country.