JPMorgan turned SBA borrowers away before second round started

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JPMorgan Chase stopped taking new applications from small businesses seeking loans under the U.S. government's Paycheck Protection Program before the initiative relaunched Monday.

The bank told customers that it wasn't accepting new applications for the rescue loans because it was trying to work through a backlog of requests already in its pipeline, Jennifer Roberts, chief of the consumer unit's business-banking division, said in a note to clients Monday, expanding on a message it gave last Thursday.

Pedestrians wearing protective masks walk past a JPMorgan Chase bank branch in New York on April 10, 2020.

"I wish we could help every business through this program, but funds could run out again quickly and we have preexisting applications in our queue," Roberts wrote.

The SBA's Paycheck Protection Program relaunched Monday at 10:30 a.m. New York time with an additional $320 billion. The initial $349 billion to support small business during the coronavirus pandemic ran out in just 13 days.

Some lenders had thousands of applications to go when the system restarted, creating pent-up demand and fueling concerns the extra money would run out quickly. On Monday, some banks reported that they either couldn't access the agency's system or were being kicked out as they tried to process applications.

JPMorgan said it would monitor funding availability in case it can take new loan applications in the future.

Bloomberg News